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wasn't the only staff member to endure such tragedies. One pediatrician,
Violeta, had left Kosovo after a Serb stabbed her daughter. Her daughter
was pregnant at the time, and lost the child. The two sought refuge
in neighboring Macedonia, but Violeta's husband, an outspoken lawyer
who stood up for the rights of ethnic Albanians, stayed behind in
Pristina. After several weeks, Violeta stopped hearing from him. When
she got back to Kosovo, people told her they had seen him lying dead
in the street. But his body had disappeared.
A week before I arrived in Kosovo, his corpse had finally been
found in the woods outside Pristina. A funeral was held my first
week there. Violeta's torment, however, didn't end there: Her husband's
killer remained free. He called her apartment several times, she
said, and told her to send her son out onto the family's balcony.
She should look, said the caller, for the red dot of a gun sight
on his forehead.
As I finish my final year of residency, Kosovo is never far from
my mind. What we did there this summer was really just a start,
and the people there still need so much help. But already I see
new crises springing up around the globe; Kosovo is being moved
to the world's back burner. Now that it's off the front pages of
newspapers, I worry that money for rebuilding is drying up, too.
I now have no doubt that I want to work in the international arena,
helping develop health care where it is really needed. Although
I always thought I was interested in this field, I had heard how
frustrating it could be. People had warned me that the politics
and funding problems could be difficult. And these are real issues,
undoubtedly. But I learned this summer that the rewards are far
greater. Even if I never return to Kosovo, its memories - and lessons
- will follow me wherever I work in the world.