Tanks are in the streets and you can hear the shooting all the time. We had to wake up during the night and go to the underground shelter because they were throwing bombs at the city.
The airport, that is only 10 miles away from my home, was bombed totally. A friend of mine, he was only 13, has been killed and another one age 18 is in the hospital.
Everyone wants peace, except the stupid politicans who want different. I hope it will end soon - I cannot stand it anymore.
The girls came to Ridley last year as part of the student exchange program Academic Year in the U.S.A. (AYUSA). They had never met before their visit to Ridley, according to Mickie Ennis, AYUSA representative, but their visit left everyone whom they touched thinking of them whenever they turn on the evening news.
"Vesna was a very independent girl, and although she was aware of the political problems in her country, she hoped it would not come to war," said Ennis. "Her parents visited here for three days last April and they said the political situation was very grave."
Ennis said she remembered Djurick for her great sense of humor and her outstanding academic record.
"Both girls were very realistic about the situation in their country," she said. "They knew the conflict was about politics and they simply had no control over the situation."
Bravc and her family are Slovene, and Djurick and her family are Serbs, representatives of two of the six Yugoslavian republics engaged in civil war since the summer.
Reached by phone in Yugoslavia, Bravc said the fighting had moved from her immediate area but had continued between the Serbs and the Croats.
"The fighting in Serbia has killed more than 800 people, and some Croatian villages have been totally bombed and their people are refugees," said Bravc.
Bravc said she had not been able to contact Djurick, who is living 700 miles away in Belgrade, because communication lines were down.
Jean Dobriisovic, Djurick's host parent during her visit to Ridley, said Djurick's letters told the story of war in a very personal way.
"In her letters she said she worries about her boyfriend being pulled into the fighting," said Dobriisovic.
Natasa Jevtic, Ridley's current Yugoslavian exchange student, is a Serb. She has never met Djurick or Bravc, but she shares their fears for their country.
"In the letters from my friends, they write that everything is normal, but I'm sure they cannot go out as normal," said Jevtic.
Since her arrival in the United States in August, Jevtic has spoken to her mother on the phone and learned that the peace and quiet of her home town of Belgrade has been shattered by bombs, including one at the local McDonald's restaurant.
Most of the time, however, the calls and letters from family and friends back home try to avoid the subject of war.
"I will be here until June 21, and I think everything will be all right when I go back to my country - I hope," said Jevtic.