I knew she was special even before we met. Reporting from Kosovar refugee camps in Macedonia in April 1999, I heard a rumor about a girl who "draws what we live" (The Lutheran, June 1999).
So I went looking for this girl whose sketchpad was filled with pencil drawings of charred homes and soldiers shooting as people flee down burning streets. But I didn't find her. She found me, twice.
Her name is Arta Kelmendi. She tells me that in Albanian Arta means "made of gold." The name fits: She is genuine, bright, solid.
Arta, then 15, found me as I looked for her in a cold rain at Radusa, a wire enclosure on a mountainside where she lived among 1,500 refugees, most from Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers