May 11, 2016
After over a year of preparations, I am extremely excited to come to Ohrid and meet the team and the partners. Some are flying in from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bosnia and the Netherlands. Others come by car from Skopje, Tetovo, Zagreb and Tirana. Most of the team only know other from the many web conference calls. We truly gathered an amazing team.
We immediately dive into full preparation mode, with so many things to fork out. Elena Stavrevksa, our local team lead, has taken excellent care of the complex logistics, with a program spread out over different locations. Damir Neziri, Vizar Ademi and the other facilitators work out the program scripts with Pepijn van Dijk and Sabine den Hartog.
Meanwhile we do a site inspection in Velestovo together with Jana Plavez, our photographer, and Pamela Sturhoofd and Freek Zonderland, our film crew. The venue overlooking Lake Ohrid is breathtaking.
I also see my old friend Vlatko Ognenovski, who immediately volunteered to prepare the communal dinner when we met a year ago in Skopje. I had him hook up with Bledar Kola, the Tirana chef I have been working with to set up an event in Albania. In an incomprehensible flurry of messages on Facebook, they jointly designed a menu blending the different ethnic cuisines. They were joined by a stellar team consisting of Oltion Veshi, Sokol Prenga, Dimitar Arnaudoski and Dugagjin Gashi. Of course a reunion with friends in Macedonia is never complete without wine or raki (rakija; rakia)…
The goal of climbing big mountains should be to attain some sort of spiritual and personal growth, but this won’t happen if you compromise away the entire process.
Yvon Chouinard, Founder Patagonia
We truly think your money is well spent here. And if your grant is substantial, your are welcome to witness how it works.
“Food, at the moment, seems to be the only unifying force in this highly fractured place” Ottolenghi