Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The UN lunch packets

Since we lived very close to the first line of defense, there were many UN tanks positioned on the streets close to the border. The UN vehicle that was a bit further in between the buildings often had kids around it wanting to talk to the soldiers, practice their English and maybe get some handouts. At one point, it became known that the UN soldiers are trading the old Yugoslavian paper money for lunch packets. Since there was a huge inflation right before the war, we had many paper bills with 6 and 9 zeros and these were apparently interesting to those man. I decided to be more proactive and target those soldiers at the front lines. So, few times I went with a handful of old paper bills, money that were totally useless at that point, to the UN peace keepers stationed in the ground floor apartments in the building on the front line. That area was clear of any civilians, actually several buildings around it were totally empty, and some wired with step-grenades. There were also no Bosnian military or police allowed in the zone. So, mom went with me to the corner of the building, and then I made my way to this apartment, entering from the balcony with no fence. And, those few times I was nicely greeted by both man and woman in uniform there, who gave me few very delicious lunch packets that they received in their regular supply. My adventures didn't last too long. On one occasion, as mom and I were returning from the front line zone, a Bosnian policeman stopped us and threatened us that we will go to jail if we ever go there again. So we stopped going. But, the packages were so special. They had things like canned cheese and fuel cubes, both of which we couldn't find anywhere else. In hindsight, I am thankful for those treats but also that I was stopped before I got into some series trouble. That front line was no place for a twenty year old girl!

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