An attempt at responding to this past weekend…

This weekend was mighty powerful. It’s hard to even put into words the intensity and emotion that was involved. Thursday included a trip to the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP), a visit to salt lakes, and finished with a trip to Lukovac to hear Emir’s story. Friday was spent with Saliha at her beautiful home in Srebrenica. Later that evening included a long walk and a bbq with Hassan at the wonderful place we were staying at. On Saturday, we went to Potocari to see the memorial and the Dutch base.
Our days were long, but filled with honesty, truth and strength from some of the most inspirational people I have ever met. It was beyond inspiring to hear the stories from Saliha, Emir and Hassan. I kept thinking to myself: they have so much strength, where does that strength come from? I wish their stories, and the stories of so many more, could be heard by everyone. That their reality and their truth would be known by everyone. The losses they experienced, the images that will be stuck with them forever, the physical and mental intensity that makes up their story…
Because our days were so long and filled, we as a group were often tired. But it quickly put me into check hearing these stories, and realizing how insignificant my being tired was in that moment. I long for the strength and perseverance that these amazing individuals have, and only wish I could hear more stories from more people. It was such a joy, pleasure and honor to be invited to the home of Saliha. She showered us with delicious foods and drinks, refusing to let anyone help her. She would tell us her story, and then ask us if we needed anything more to eat or drink; asking us what more she could do for us. She is such a giving woman, with a huge heart. Truly, truly awe inspiring. I only wish that I could have half the strength and kindness that she has. I am so appreciative that I am able to have this experience of learning from incredible people. How blessed am I that I can be here, hearing stories, visiting sights of importance, gaining knowledge that I cannot receive from books. I wish I could begin to thank the individuals who took their time to spend with myself and my peers in the way that I would like to. And I only wish I could better put into words everything that I would like to say, everything that I think all should know. Until then, it is important to grasp how truly incredible these individuals are, how much strength and honesty and perseverence they encompass.
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Some of Saliha’s amazing food.

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