Five Archbishop Hoban High School students left for an immersion trip to Kosovo with the intention of changing nothing. Their goals: To listen to the people, photograph life, capture the experience in their journals and observe the world’s second newest country.
They ventured to see a fledgling democracy, one born of American airstrikes that prevented further Albanian genocide at the hands of Serbians.
And they brought back to America an experience that will forever change their lives.
On display at the Lululemon Cafe during the Akron Artwalk and throughout November are the pictures and notes they took, filtered through their collective conscience.
“I’ve seen this kind of poverty and lack of opportunities before,” said Tess Davey, a senior who took the trip.
Davey, though 18 years old, is no stranger to international strife. An aspiring political scientist, she interpreted Spanish for a medical brigade during a trip to Honduras last year, and worked with youths in Ecuador before that — each country rife with child poverty and violence.
“The thing about Kosovo that I think really changed my perspective is realizing how much the international community had an effect on them … You hear about the Holocaust and things like that. But I was alive for the things these people went through. And to think that I was just sitting in my home, just a little baby, while these people were being brutally murdered — it kind of blows my mind — and that it still goes on and, really, we have absolutely no idea here. We feel so safe.”
Davey feels ashamed, not at what she views as an American retreat from intervention, but from her prior ignorance (a month before the trip, she admits, she wouldn’t have been able to point to Kosovo on a map).