By Zahra Ramish, Volunteer, Delhi Chapter
It’s rightly said that the experience as a tourist and a home-stay experience can’t be compared. Even a couple of days in someone’s home, living as a part of the family can bring a great change in the outlook.
And so, when I went to attend the celebration by Interkultura Serbia, on their tenth anniversary, and stayed back for a couple of days to explore the city of Belgrade, I had a wonderful experience, interacting with the Staff and volunteers. Talking to the teachers, gave me a picture of how education is very flexible. Students, choose to go to the school nearest to their homes, as there is no school transport. Even the combination of subjects they want is very flexible. On my visit to my Host’s school, I found a very relaxed atmosphere- happy teachers and happy students. I also, realized that teachers were quite respected by students.
Belgrade, a very small city if I take the reference of, Delhi, is really beautiful. I had a great time walking around and visiting the few monuments they have. To begin the city tour, we walked to the Belgrade fortress, above the confluence of the two rivers- Sava and Danube, here we got a panoramic view, to enjoy. Then we walked down the Kalemegdan Park to the main square, enjoying the architect and the market.
The visit to the Temple of St. Sava, the largest Orthodox cathedral In the Balkans, was an experience in itself. On one of my walks, I came across some ruins, which happened to be a library. It was heart-rending to see how the ancient library was destroyed during the war.
Out of some morbid interest, I visited the concentration camp site in Belgrade, which was formed in 1941, Dec. in order to execute Jews and gypsies. After the execution of Jews, it became a place of execution of the captured partisan and Chetnik fighters as well as the civilians caught in the war areas between 1942 May and 1944 July. The desolation of the area stood witnessed the pain and misery.
The visit to Belgade wouldn’t be complete until one walks down the banks of Sava River. I really enjoyed the fresh breeze, the quiet and peace.My stay with Gabi, made me feel that there is, perhaps no difference, what so ever, amongst moms, across the globe! Our conversation discussing our children, and family, our common interest in cooking, Gabi, sharing lots of traditional recipes of jams, pickles, chutneys… was I not in India??