The members of the Youth United in Peace Network stay in close contact through their Facebook groups and other social networks throughout the Corona period. Again and again they plan to meet each other also in real life, but the conditions make it very difficult because the corona restrictions in the different countries keep changing. Very strict lockdown periods were followed by gradual easing of restriction, then everything was turned back again to lockdown. Vlasta Markovic’s report is a good example of how the youngsters take every opportunity to visit each other to renew their friendships and discuss perspectives for YU-Peaces’ work under Corona conditions.

When you start traveling, no matter how many times you return to your home, a part of you will always stay in other places. Other people. With other hearts. Different streets. Part of you never comes home. Ever since I am part of the YU-Peace project, part of me and my heart has been living in different places.

The closed borders of Croatia for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina required me to take a new path, which I had never taken before. At the beginning, the road itself turned out to be a great adventure that took me across the Danube, in one part of Serbia, on a ferry that can hold six cars, which none of us knew about until then. But when I go to Sombor, and even if I had to swim across the Danube, it would not be difficult for me.

This whole Corona situation left us without socializing, our yearly peace camps and so many anticipated hugs, that in the end, when the situation improved a little bit, my heart took me to a city to which we all gladly return to, gladly arrive and always look forward to it … Sombor. It is not so much about the city or its streets, but it is about the people, who opened their home and their heart to me and allowed me to be a part of them for a while.

My friendships made in the Youth United in Peace Network (YU-Peace) have been going on for years, and one of them is between Vanja and me, which has lasted for several years and started at one of our seaside peace camps.

When one of us has problems, we always know that we can be a support to each other, but we also celebrate small and big victories in our lives together, in any way that we can. Now, when I had some difficult times, Vanja said to me: „Come on, pack your things and come“, and it was really a great that she said that, because finally we had some time to hang out together. All of those seven days had a lot of plans. One of my requests was to be near some kind of water, so every day we were on The Great Backi canal, or Danube Bay, or lakes such as: Palić, Zobnatica or Ludosko lake. Now I know more about Sombor and everything that surrounds Sombor.

When YU-Peace friends heard that I arrived in Sombor, they wrote every day, asking me when we can see each other… or let’s go for coffee, let’s go here, let’s go there, because no one expected of me to stay for seven days.

Tisa, Valerija, Jasmina, Jelena, Tijana, Dunja, Anđela, Bojana, Andrea, they all tried to find some time for me in their schedules, have coffee with me, talk about the whole situation we are in at the moment and in some way we make this whole situation a little easier for each other. Not only privately, but also at the level of the YU-Peace network, how to continue the peace work now in this new world. We only know that the love, peace and our friendships will support us to overcome whatever lays in front of us in the next years.

Valerija, Tisa, Sasa and Jasmina, of course, were there to prepare paprikash, something you can’t miss if you are in Vojvodina. I’ve been hearing about Saša’s paprikash for years, so this was a great opportunity to try the it as well, because in Sombor you always eat well :).