Tourists are advised to stay away from the city of Mitrovica, Kosovo – portrayed as an unsafe location. I’ve only visited a few times, mostly for work, however, the protagonist of this story moved to Mitrovica to live and work all the way from the U.S.
I met Jacqueline from the U.S. at a panel discussion organized from the Faces of Kosovo in the National Library on their first anniversary. We had a small chat and I asked her if she’d want to be part of this series.
Jacqueline had heard about Kosovo on NPR in 1998 as they reported the events that lead to the 1999 war.
Her husband and she wanted to serve God in a capacity that made a difference. They looked at several other countries. Her husband had already served in KFOR (2006) and had the first-hand experience in the country. In 2010 they had the opportunity to become volunteers to Kosovo through the Kosovo Leadership Academy in Mitrovica. So, this is how they ended up moving to Mitrovica, Kosovo and live there (and she even learned some Albanian)
What does Jacqueline like about Kosovo?
She says she likes the friendliness and warmth of the people, the importance of family, and the hospitality. Jacqueline also loves some of our traditional food, such as mantia, byrek, and pite! And yes, “the delicious and ridiculously affordable macchiatos”. She continues by saying that she likes also the landscape (mountains/valleys) which are beautiful and also the ease of visiting the whole Balkan region (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, etc.).
What doesn’t Jacqueline like about Kosovo?
She doesn’t like getting the “Balkan stare” because she is part Asian, the “creative” driving skills of Kosovars, the trash that gets dumped on the land and in the rivers, the air pollution, the stray dogs, the “relative” use of calendars, schedules and interpretation of time.
What does she recommend to visit when in Kosovo?
Jacqueline recommends a few places to visit when in Kosovo. One of them is the Adem Jashari monument in Prekaz (read more about it and other attractions here), Rugova, Kosovo Art Exchange Gallery in Mitrovica, and the city of Prizren.