A Balkan Journey

MartinWoodMapA map of present day South East Europe provided the focus for guest speaker, Martin Wood’s, informative and very interesting presentation on his eleven years in Bosnia and Kosovo, working as part of USAID. With the use of maps and photographs, he clarified both the geography of the area and its complicated history.

In October 1988, at the age of 56, Wood, a professional engineer, was hired to work on projects in infrastructure reconstruction in Bosnia and Kosovo.

He provided pre and post war photographs of Sarajevo and Tuzla, site of the worst bombings in the war, to set the scene of the incredible destruction he faced on arrival. He worked on the reconstruction of schools, clinics, roads and bridges, which in many cases involved completely rebuilding from the ground up. Many of the projects involved first locating and removing thousands of land mines. Still twenty years after the war, there are over one hundred thousand land mines remaining. Wood spent nine years in Kosovo, the last five on economic and business development, providing technical assistance on projects such as advanced yields, new markets, packaging and sorting.

With several anecdotes, he provided insight into the dangers which still prevailed in the area but also the many beautiful historic sites he and his wife, Jane, visited. “Despite the devastation of wars,” he said, “history has imbued the people of Kosovo with great resilience.”
Text by Pam Foster

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