The first thing I noticed in Bosnia was the smoke. It seems like the smoke here is drenched into every building, every street, and every person here. Sometimes it becomes so natural that I can’t smell it anymore. Sarajevo is a beautiful city, clouded.
The next thing I noticed in Bosnia is the driving. Cars are always moving as if the roads are a racetrack even on winding mountain roads. Speed limit signs appear to go unnoticed. Other vehicles and roadblocks are narrowly missed. Their level of skill, however, is incredible. Individuals here are able to manage several phone calls while backing up a cliffside with their knees. They have far surpassed our driving abilities in America and I could not be more impressed.
After the driving, I noticed the generosity here. From our hosts at the hotel to individuals in the streets and restaurants, everyone is extremely welcoming and kind. There is a desire to not only take care of neighbors and friends but guests and strangers. At restaurants, we commonly receive extra food that is freely given to us, people stop to give you directions, younger individuals willingly give up their seats for the elderly, change is given like clockwork to those reaching their hands of in the streets, individuals will stop in the middle of a sentence to make sure you don’t need more coffee–there is such a culture of service and giving. There is a feeling of selflessness in Bosnia. I think my favorite example of this so far has been with the animals here.
Bosnia has several stray dogs in the streets here. However, for having so many dogs in the streets, none of them seem to be starving or even very dirty. They are not only taken care of by the people here but they seem to take care of each other. The street dogs here sleep together and often travel together. Even in the countryside protection measures such as pesticides and fences are not used in gardens. They say that there is, “enough food for us and them.” Garden visitors are not a problem, it’s part just a part of living in the country. It is okay to be content with what you have and furthermore you should be content with what you have because it’s right.
Sometimes for myself, I get caught up in worry over having enough or overindulgence, but being here reminds me of what it’s like to be humble and what it’s like to give of yourself. I’m reminded of how important it is to give even when you have little and how important it is to take care of one another. I think that my time here will be a period of growth. Whatever happens here next I’m excited and I can only imagine what Bosnia has in store for us next.