Over three sunny days from May 8th through 10th, twenty-four A-SMYLE alumni from Montenegro and Serbia–representing eight of the ten generations of the program–took part in a volunteering venture hosted by the Open Air Museum “Old Village.” Located in Sirogojno, Serbia, this unique and picturesque museum features Serbian rural households and life-cycle customs and habits from the late 19th and early 20th century. In the third consecutive year of fruitful collaboration between American Councils and “Old Village” museum, A-SMYLE Alumni and American Councils staff re-cultivated the soil of an old orchard and re-created in a 3D installation the hopes and fears of an imagined “prototype” of a 1980s Serbian family migrating from a rural to an urban area. In between achieving these physically demanding and creatively challenging goals, alumni and staff found time to plan further celebration of the A-SMYLE 10th anniversary and compile videos and photos that document their joy in being together among people who cherish cultural learning and exchange.
Photo: Alumni place their name plaques on the trees in an old orchard
Photo credits: Nikola Krstović, Sirogojno Open Air Museum Senior Curator