2nd week in Kosovo with BYUH Intern Bobby Poort

August 27, 2012 | By wickley wickley

A familiar face at the Brekoc Community Center

Another week freckled with great moments has come and gone. As I reflect upon some of those moments, I am filled with gratitude for this special opportunity to be apart of this program.

Spending time with, both, the students and the volunteers, has truly been a life learning experience. Here are a few of my thoughts about this past week.

Monday through Wednesday the temperature reached up to 40 degrees Celsius. If you’re from America and you are reading this, you may not understand. So, let me do the conversion for you…it was blazing, burning, scorching I tell you! A kupton? Mir. There’s

some Albanian for ya ( a kupton = understand, mir = good).

With the vans in the shop for a few of these days, our mornings were spruced up with a stroll or two through the city experiencing the culture, people, and heat in true Gjakove fashion. Then, as if the heavens approved our withstanding the hellish heat, we were rewarded with some refreshingly cool days to end our week. But, enough of the weather already.

The children of the Brekoc Community Center

Two days of each week we go teach the kids out at the Brekoc Community Center. Most of these children are minorities and come from some of the poorest families in Gjakove. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of progress that needs to be made in how minorities are viewed and treated in Kosovo. Saying that these kids have it rough would definitely be an understatement.

Out of the three schools where we teach, the Brekoc children triumph in rowdiness. This can make for some lively game playing, but can also cause for a good amount of time wasted in trying to settle the children down.

BYUH student, Amber, getting rowdy

Wednesday, we made our stroll through the city headed for the Brekoc center. Upon our arrival, we were surprised to learn that the center had a schedule mix up and that we would be sharing our time with an NGO from Italy. The summer heat and games played with the Italian group before our time with the kids had them bouncing off the walls.

Rowdiness had seemingly been conqueror that day as we shuffled the children inside to settle them down and sing a few songs. Time was cut short and the students were let loose. Though teaching didn’t go quite as planned, I observed something I thought to be very important about the volunteers and the Shropshire Music Foundation.

I noticed the importance of teaching the students about discipline. I watched how the volunteers reacted to such behavior from the children. I was, and have been on multiple occasions, impressed as I watched Leke, Qiki, and Fortessa give the proper attention to the students while reminding them to behave and quietly pay attention to the teacher.

Qiki helping a girl learn the quarter note

I feel that being wild and playing games with the children is important to

help the students feel the love and attention that sometimes they don’t receive. There is plenty of play time in the program, however, for some of the kids, they may not have someone to properly teach them about discipline.

I have learned that a big part of teaching peace through music is teaching the children how to become leaders. And, in order to become leaders, it is necessary that they learn discipline.

Leke, Qiki, Fortessa, along with the other volunteers of the program are able to teach discipline because they have learned it for themselves. Whether, or not, they have learned it in their own homes I know the program has been able to help them learn such principles about discipline.

Class is in session at the Brekoc Center