Tuesday we had a briefing with the World Bank. Their offices are located high above our university offices in a tall glass structure a stone’s throw from the sunny Holiday Inn. The view was beautiful and the meeting began on the foundation of irony- we all knew how much that space cost to rent, and how few people in the city below could actually afford to rent it. But the World Bank must have offices that match its prestige and the grandeur of its Noble Mission, of course, just like the EU offices- which I’ll introduce you to later.
The lady that talked with us (I’m not allowed to disclose her name- most high officials we’re briefed by have those rules) was impressive, however, and I am fully convinced of her individual dedication and mission to Bosnia, if I’m not quite convinced by all of the World Bank’s operations. She began her work in Russia, spent some time in South America, used to work in Macedonia, and finally was reassigned here earlier this year. She speaks Russian, French, Spanish, English, and is learning Bosnian.
She said that wasn’t impressive, though, because the World Bank employed someone who spoke 72 languages.
I’m still not sure how that’s possible, actually, though I wish TLC would have TV shows called “72 Languages and Counting” instead of “16 Kids and Counting.”
At least languages can’t molest each other.
I learned quite a bit, though, including the structure of World Bank aid and a few caveats. (It must always be remembered, too, that our briefings are inherently biased). The World Bank isn’t allowed to use accredited statistics- because 188 countries “own” the World Bank, they have to use the statistics and censuses the countries provide. This means that there will always be a dichotomy between reality and portrayal, whether very small (one or two percentage points) or very large (as much as thirty percentage points). All the World Bank is allowed to do is to designate this with an asterisk.
I won’t bore you all with the details, though, but it was easily one of my favorite briefings yet.
That night, Merima, Carli, and I went to see the Sarajevan Philharmonic play in the City Hall I showed you in this post.
For those of you who don’t know, I have played in orchestras for years and have a love for all things music and art. This concert, commemorating the beginning of Ramadan (Sarajevo is majority Muslim), consisted of Glinka’s Overture “Russian and Ludmilla”; Grieg’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra op. 16 with guest Gokhan Aybulus, A minor; and Beethoven’s Symphony 7, op. 92, A major.
Because the war wiped out the Orchestra and the economy is too bad for parents to be able to afford to train their children in the more expensive, specialty instruments (oboe, for example, or bassoon), the Orchestra hires American students on a yearly basis. We met a few students from all around the States that were playing in the orchestra- one for oboe, one bassoon, one French horn, etc.
Though to play in this space would not be ideal (the acoustics caused echoing and a delay), for the audience, it sounded beautiful. To be able to hear it in such a beautiful space, too, was magical, and I had possibly one of the best nights here, though we had standing-room only and I was wearing heels (I wasn’t sure what to expect for the dress code).
Afterwards we met a few of the Americans at a pub that normally on Tuesday does salsa dancing, but because this was the beginning of Ramadan, we simply took advantage of the hot chocolate bar- here, hot chocolate isn’t Nestle powder, but rather literal melted chocolate.
This particular kind was orange and cinnamon dark chocolate.
I wish I had some American hot chocolate, now, or at least a large mug of steaming tea, because even though it’s officially summer, it’s so cold and rainy here that my breath that I can see my breath (most days this week it’s barely reached 60, though yesterday was quite balmy at nearly 80).
Anyway- my computer is about to die and it’s nearly 1am, so I’ll continue this tomorrow!