I just finished reading everyone’s first blog posts and while I feel full of reactions and feelings, it is so hard to find words to share it all. I am so impressed with this group of students. As we have spent many hours together this past week, I have gotten to know them better and better and feel blessed for that. The social work profession is lucky to have these budding new professionals enter its ranks. They are bright, insightful, generous, humble, kind and so much fun! Thank you all for making this experience better with you than without you! You have helped me process my experience so that there are at least some words to share 🙂
Students dancing at the Olympic bobsled site.
Can’t pass up a chance to play!
I am struck by many things here in Bosnia . . .
I am struck by the physical beauty of the countryside of Bosnia. It reminds me of New England, West Virginia, Switzerland, and even Colorado a bit. It is lush and green and wet with beautiful wild flowers, perfect vegetable house gardens, rolling hills and mountains, a multitude of rivers and streams, fresh springs everywhere, and roses, roses, roses! The city is never quiet and the countryside is ever so quiet. There is contrast everywhere! War damaged homes and buildings next to beautiful newly renovated ones. Bullet holes and fresh brightly colored paint and fragrant roses. My head cocks to the side a bit trying to take it all in and make sense of it all.
Like others have noticed, the people are amazing, from shop keepers to our tour guide, Jadranka, to Hasan and Saliha who shared their horrific yet amazing stories to all our supporters who jump in to help when things don’t go quite right (many thanks to Ann for creating these friendships that make our visit so much more bountiful). I am in awe of the resiliency of the Bosnian people. I have witnessed what trauma can do to people and know that it can break a person or a community. Somehow, they keep going without it breaking them. I don’t know how. When an individual experiences trauma, they can go to their family and friends for support and love while they recover. When a whole community or country experiences trauma, who do they turn to? Who helps them live on? I wish I could better understand what has allowed the Bosnian people to go on. Saliha goes on by speaking her truth in court and to anyone who will listen. This seems to give her strength in her constant grief. Others remain quiet. Where do they find their strength? They have strong and generous spirits. All of them. It is always the people who determine the feeling of a place. It is the people who determine the beauty of a place. It is the people who determine my love for a place. I love Bosnia!
Saliha and Ann
Anesa and Ann