Sharing Memories During 20-Year-Celebration

In April a colourful mix of farmers, experts, sponsors, and deputies of the North Korean Embassy celebrated 20 years of successful collaboration between North Koreans and Swiss in the assembly room of the Reformed Church in Zweisimmen.

»Yun was just a good man. We could only communicate with a few words, but we got along with each other right from the beginning. He was interested in everything, took many notes and drew sketches. All of this in order to do things this way in North Korea, too,“ remembers farmer Walter Gobeli with enthusiasm. “When you meet him, please give him my kind regards!”

16 years ago, Walter Gobeli and his wife Erna were one of the courageous host families offering a North Korean agronomist practical training during the summer months.

After Yun’s departure trainees followed summer after summer, totalling almost one hundred. They wanted to transfer Swiss mountain farming knowledge to the mountainous areas of their country. Today cheese and yogurt are very popular in North Korea and are being produced in more than 300 small cheese dairies all over the country.

During the celebration Mr Ulrich Zeller, the mayor of Zweisimmen, as well as the Counsellor of the North Korean Embassy, praised this manifold and creative partnership. Host families told about their funniest but also most challenging experiences of two very different cultures sharing life.

Daniel gave some insight into life in North Korea today and Stefan and Anita Burckhardt shared the present key aspects of the project. Solemn alphorn tunes expressed what one cannot express in words: We want to be a blessing for the North Korean people and pray for their well-being.

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