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Curtains never fall

By 2nd Lt. Alexandre Barb
First published in
SFOR Informer#109, March 21, 2001

Sarajevo - On air. The curtain opens in front of an impatient public. The show can start. In the primary school of Hrasno, in Novo Sarajevo, where 900 children aged from 7 to 14 study, about 50 of them prepared a little show to thank the French contingent of Butmir.
As many other nations, the French want to be involved in local development. Thus, four classrooms have been set up with curtains. During summer, because of the sunshine, children could hardly work in these classrooms.
"We got this idea from talking with our interpreter, Almira, whose cousin is working as a teacher in the school. The director told us about her needs and we set up this operation," said French Staff Sgt. d'Auber de Peyrelongue. It didn't take a long time to collect 1,956 KM needed to buy and install the curtains on the windows. "We set up commercials and a collecting point at the French NSE. We also organised a party and the profits were kept for buying the curtains," he added.
"I'd like to thank you for what you've done for the school. In the past few months, working conditions got better but our school is far from being completely reconstructed. We need furniture above all," said Jasna Beia school director.
Among the guests, DCOMSFOR Maj. Gen. Roger Duburg didn't hide his satisfaction. "I (was) one of the last to know about it and I hope this kind of action will be continued. Many people come here without having any contact with the population. This kind of help allows it," he said while chatting with the director. "I have seen a lot of schools during the war and I am very glad to be here tonight," he added. Beia revealed that during the war, the lessons were held in cellars.
But on that evening, on all the shining faces of the children and their teachers, everyone could read two words: "merci" and "beaucoup," as one of them said in French.
The French contingent doesn't intend stopping its good deeds. Soon, about 20,000 notebooks will be given to the pupils and to others from an orphanage and a school for handicapped children.
After the children sang and gave a shadow show, the curtain came down. But not on the future of the children.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: France
Humanitarian Aid