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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Record-Journal Memories of war still real as immigrant adjusts to life in town

Record-Journal

As the small group walked, gaining more members as they went, they came to the Ereniku River, where 2,000 others were crossing about 500 feet of chest-deep, freezing water. A day or so later, they were accepted at the Albanian border, and spent three months in camps with other refugees, using television and radio services to reunite families. Eventually, she found her older brother — and his new baby.

"It was really like, to be born again a second time," she said. "It was really hard I saw my two brothers crying and hugging each other."

On June 13, Gashi and a small group left the camp and returned to their home. It was trashed, "but who cares for that it was not burned," she said. She stayed in the country working with the humanitarian organization Solidarite's Aide, rebuilding the country.

She came to visit the United States to see her sister in Waterbury several times, and decided to move to the country for good. She dreamed as a child of coming to the country as a visitor, a tourist, and not as a refugee. But that is what she did.

Gashi and Latifi said they doubt there will be peace between the Kosovars and Serbs, as long as their generation is alive. Today there is still occasional fighting.

Latifi said he cannot return soon either. It will take a long time, he said, but maybe one day he will visit. Many are still without work, and have little to take their minds off what happened between the two groups. Gashi said sometimes she feels so old from all that she has lived through. She cannot understand sometimes, how she survived.

"So many blood went down, so many people died," she said. "I feel sad for most of my generation, to see that things with your eyes, it was like a terror movie. I wish nobody to have war. To see, what is exactly the war."

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