Agape international is supporting the Non-Conventional Energy Development Center in Pyongyang in the development of small Stirling engines for domestic and village use. The Stirling engine is a heat engine that operates with almost any heat source and provides mechanical work. Small engines like these can help alleviate the energy shortage for the population. We have planned a visit for this year.
The chief engineer, in particular, wants to meet with other Stirling engine manufacturers in Europe. We are working on the invitation letter, the visa applications and the visiting program.
We have already received helpful support from the work group Stirling-Motor in Munich that has been dealing with this subject matter for 30 years. Because Stirling engines are celebrating their 200th anniversary this year this topic is receiving additional impetus.
Agape international has been inviting North Korean specialists Switzerland for further education for many years already. Much more than one hundred persons have been able to see a new world, further their professional and personal experience, and applied what they have learned in their home.
When we meet with former interns, we reminisce, send our greetings and take note of the fact that the time spent abroad has left precious traces despite not being easy.
A lot of preparation and great persistence is needed before a North
Korean can land in Switzerland. And throughout all the years we have had amazing experiences of seeming impossibilities turning into possibilities. How often did we throw our hands in the air because some bureau required yet another paper, another certification – documents that sometimes did not even exist in the required shape or form!
Sometimes it was the North Koreans than wanted a guarantee
that a visa had actually been granted; sometimes the Swiss retracted
after their initial benevolence and wondered if … if we couldn’t hand in a certification guaranteeing that … For almost every travel project we needed someone who was willing to go the extra mile to make something possible that was not customary. It goes without saying that we never paid bribes, although we do feel as God always sent “angels” in the right moment.
Once an embassy official went to the embassy and issued visas on a
holiday enabling a travel group to catch their flight. Or there was the time when an offcial gave us helpful tips on how to prolong a short work visa for a couple of days so that a North Korean could finish his training.
Do we need these moments to remember that we are not in control?
Many Swiss ask us how it is possible to visit North Korea; isn’t the country totally closed?! No, it is not! One possibility that is open to everyone is to visit the country as a tourist. In the meantime there are very attractive routes coming from the north besides the trips to Pyongyang.
You can book a hiking trip or a rice plant tour, learn to make Kimchi, or learn some Korean. Have I roused your interest? To see something with your own eyes is very different from just reading about it. Please contact us, if you are interested in German-speaking
tours. We will be glad to provide you with further information.