I recently finished helping a local high school girl build a bamboo longbow. As part of the curriculum of the local (IB International Baccalaureate) program students are to develop a “personal project”. They identify a interest and find a teacher or mentor in the community who has expertise in that particular area. While I certainly don’t consider myself an expert, I do feel qualified to help high school students get sticks to bend in the general shape of a bow. For this particular project she choose to build Torges style ratan (bamboo) longbow http://www.bowyersedge.com/kidsbows.html . After months of working on the project we had a functional bow that both of us were proud of.
While the bow building was fun the best part was getting to know her and her family. Originally from Serbia they had some very interesting stories from the old country. Boske the father is probably the only person I’ve ever known who has lived in a communist county. They left Serbia (former Yugoslavia) during the civil wars. It was very interesting spending time with someone who grew up in a world so different from our own.
I think in a lot of ways I’d do well in the “old county”, a lot of our conversations revolved around things I do, sausage making, distilling, and how things are still traditionally done there. As a thank you they brought me some sausage from Serbia, a vegetable spread and some plum brandy from his grandfather’s distillery (Serbian National drink).
All in all it was a very educational experience for everyone.