Do you know about all the American boys in Kosovo? They were there to protect the peace. They were everywhere! And not just Americans – Peacekeeping Forces from all over the world including Russia, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Sweden and America were stationed in Kosovo. I was there too, celebrating the millennium summer, working as a nurse practitioner in the war recovery effort. I was privileged to be working in a Maternal Child Health Program in Gjilane, Kosovo.....
One afternoon on the way to my café, I passed a parked Hummer on the corner. In the portal cut from the roof of the Hummer stood two young soldiers facing in opposite directions so they could view the street in both directions. Each held a machine gun. As I neared the corner I caught the eye of the young man that faced me, with his gun pointing toward my heart. He was a tall boy, about 18 years old, with solemn brown eyes and dark skin. He looked straight ahead with a stern and serious expression on his face.
I wondered how these young men feel about the big responsibility they had been given. They were all very young men, boys really, in their late teens or early twenties. Living so far away from home and not being allowed by the military to socialize among the local people, they must surely feel lonely.
As I caught the young man's eye, I stop walking and smiled at him. His expression remained unchanged, still, stern, serious and grim. Then I pointed to myself and silently spelled out a single word A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N, smiled and then gave a little wave. His serious posture shifted. A wide grin spread over his face as he gave a small nod in my direction. We had connected. Although far, far away from the “land of the free and the home of the brave, we were on common ground.
By Nancy Leigh Harless, BSN, WCHNP and Director Communications for One Nurse At A Time worked with International Medical Corp in the post-Balkan War recovery effort in Gjalen, Kosovo during the summer of 2000. Read the entire article at: http://www.nursetogether.com/Volunteer/VolunteerArticle/tabid/360/itemId/2629/On-Common-Ground-A-Nurses-Experience.aspx