Sunset From Balkan Hills

Sunset over the hills of Sarajevo

Being slightly sleep deprived has given me a chance to quietly observe most of Sarajevo from a rather objective lens. For the first time in my life, I am learning that I don’t have to ask direct questions to learn answers. People are more than willing to show or tell me their stories if I just let the conversation flow naturally. One can learn a lot more from listening than from speaking. It is hard to relax here, but I am learning that just because I want something done a certain way at a certain time doesn’t mean that it is going to happen here. Perhaps this is also a good lesson for the extremely impatient side of me.

In Bosnia, this is certainly the case. My natural American impatience is being sequestered while I allow things to just flow. We keep telling one another to ‘trust the process’, but it is hard to live that when you are actually here. Sometimes I just want to scream at people ‘You’re doing it wrong!’ but I recognize that this is also ethnocentric and I would just be stared at as if I had grown three heads. Bosnia wants to improve, but they are also working towards their own personal rebuilding, and they need to do it in their own way; perhaps with a little gentle nudge in some aspects but still in the Bosnia way.

My own self-adjustment came in the form of listening to some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard from the hillsides. I went to the hillside and listened to the call to prayer at sunset. We counted over 40 minarets and mosques, so imagine over 40 calls to prayers at one time. It is beautiful and sad and wonderful all at the same time. It reminds me of how despite everything, Bosnia will still keep going. I have to think to myself that this desire to survive and heal is one of the strongest and most inspiring aspects of humanity.

A truly beautiful way to spend the evening.

Bosnia and Herzegovina will overcome their past, I just have a feeling that the resilience is there and can come to the people. I think that more people need to climb the hill, metaphorically and literally, to listen to the sound of humanity. There is too much beauty in such a little thing such as music, and sometimes that little bit of beauty is what can overcome the horror of the world. I know that whatever personal baggage I brought here, if I can stop and appreciate these little things than I too will be stronger and happier.

I truly recommend going up there and hearing this striking sound. Even if you bring pizza (and fight off teenage boys in order to teach them a lesson about nastiness to animals) you will not be disappointed.

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