It’s not even 1pm, and today has been a whirlwind of emotions caused by an unexpected turn of events.
As some of you may have read already on my post in the Bosnia page, this morning in the GS1 office something magical happened.
I came into work today, went along with my usual routine of saying hi to my co-workers, exchanging a few words about the weekend (them commenting on my tan YESSS thank you Neum!), getting some green tea, setting up my laptop and starting to conduct some research on document management systems. THEN my wonderful co-worker turns on the radio and all of a sudden Maniac is blasting throughout the office. She’s a maniac, maniac on the floo-ooo-ooor! I start bobbing my head, doing a little right to left movement in my chair and upon seeing my enthusiasm for the song everyone starts to break out into their own little dance. Now this may be normal in any other internship, but this is GS1 guys…were talking strict business All Day Ery Day.
That was my post and as I said I had shared it because it brought my spirits up and it reminded me how awesome spontaneous moments like that are and that today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.
A few hours went by and one of my co-workers informed me that we were going to go out on the streets at 11 to watch cars pass by that were headed towards Srebrenica carrying body parts of those that died during the war that had been found. I don’t know if I missed the memo, but I had no idea that this was happening today nor that this was a ritual that they conducted every year. So we walk out towards the street and I ask them some questions since I feel totally out of the loop. They tell me that around 400 individuals had been found even though for each only about 1% of their body was actually retrieved. On the main street (the one that lines the eternal flame) there are hundreds of people lined along the sidewalks holding one long stringed banner on which pieces of colorful cloth hang that have the names of those deceased who had been found. A bit ways down some people are holding up a large montage of all of their portraits and even farther down, in front of the building, there are white flower petals spread all around with cameramen, news reporters and locals surrounding the area. Then my co-worker points out the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina who is standing next to the President of Croatia. She tries to spot the President of Serbia when she realizes that of course he is not in attendance because the Serbians do not want to admit, as she said in her own words, that this event ever occurred. She says they think it’s all fake and made up information. This absolutely blowed my mind and made me a little frustrated as I felt naïve for not realizing all of this before. She then tells me her story of when she lived through the war at the age of 2, about her, her sister and mother having to hide in the bathtub so that the bullets would not get through. Her father worked somewhere that had a field of green in front of it so in the middle of the city he planted vegetables for his family to eat. She asked me if I could imagine it, I said no of course and couldn’t find anything else to say. This made me feel a bit useless. Then the trucks came through. Large large green trucks with the Bosnian flag covering them. I looked around and grief struck me. Everyone started praying, my co-workers, the teenagers next to me on their bikes, the men in their business suits…. They lifted both hands up in front of their face with palms facing upwards, whispering some words, then once a truck went by they would take their hands, cover their face, and run them down the side of their face. People holding flowers were putting them on the side of the trucks, tucking them into any area that would hold. Across the street were a bunch of old women wearing traditional clothing, holding flowers, who were grouped together and were crying into their handkerchiefs. A type of crying that I cannot describe the type as if everything is lost and nothing will be the same. This really struck me, when I see others cry I tend to cry myself. All I wanted to do was cry with them even though I had no reason to. By this point as you can see I had experienced frustration, naivety, shame, grief and sadness.
Were back in the office now, it’s 12:35 pm and the mood has changed drastically from when we were all doing a little jiggle to Maniac. I have this awful feeling in my stomach, all I want to do is go back to the hostel, skype my mom, and even cry a bit. It stays true that spontaneous moments will catch you off guard, I could never have thought I would have witnessed what I did. It also stays true that today is a gift, a gift for each and every one of us. To those who went to Srebrenica, I can’t wait to hear about what you learned and experienced.