June 18, 2008 by WITS Houston
[WITS Writer and UHD Professor Merrilee Cunningham is traveling in Eastern Europe for three weeks, teaching creative writing, primarily to school children. Read the first two posts about this project here and here.}
Today the Macedonian Express is still on the border in Serbia but getting closer to Kosovo and Macedonia. I just finished working with 32 kids who write in either Albanian or Serbian with the assistance of a great translator named Mohammed Selima. Mohammed did an amazing job creating a bridge so that the students and I could communicate with ease. The kids talked a lot about famous Serbian writers and inventors, such as Nichola Tesla and others. I am certainly learning much more than I am teaching!
Since arriving in the Balkans, each day I lead at least two, sometimes three workshops a day. Today I am in the mountain town of Bujanovac, just across from where in 1991 there was a war. Only yesterday Kosovo became more independent from its original state's relationship with Serbia, but you would never know it from the library where I am writing this in an American Corner in Bujanovac. I have been in Bujanovac only since this morning and tonight I leave, at last, for Macedonia.
So the Macedonian Express will be entering Macedonia in an armored car but entering nonetheless. The next time I write, I will write from Macedonia, where I will continue to teach Writers in the Schools lessons (from our very own Tried and True) to Albanian and Roma children. I will write again after my border crossing. Love, Merrilee