This past week, I hiked to Lukomir, BiH, and saw a side of Bosnia that I never expected. So often, the conversation around this country is centered on the 1990’s genocide, and current ethnic and political tensions plaguing the country. It’s hard to see past that. It’s hard for me to understand how people can thrive after such recent and horrific events. But turning onto the gravel road past the Olympic ski village on Bjelašnica Mountain, all these thoughts slipped away. Looking out the window, I just as easily could’ve been in northern Yellowstone, or the Andes, or the Austrian Alps. That’s not an exaggeration.
Scattered across the bald mountain tops are random geometric shapes of stone fences that delineate grazing areas for certain shepherds. The sheep herding, which continues today as Lukomir’s primary (and perhaps sole) economy, has been in the area for thousands of years. Everything here is so old and so untouched. The guide for our trip, Srđan, of Green Visions (where I’m lucky enough to intern this summer), told us that Lukomir has become fairly touristy in the past several years…meaning that there were perhaps 4 other foreigners in the village at the same time as us.
These families in Lukomir have been through two world wars and a genocide in the past hundred years, and its heritage is very much alive and strong. Maybe this grit is in the water, but everyone in BiH seems to be drinking it. Despite everything working against it, this community is strong and supportive, with a neighborhood feel of everybody knowing everyone else. This stands out above all else during my first few days in Sarajevo. Everything about this city and this country is interesting, and I look forward to exploring it through long walks, random adventures, and good food this summer.
Post by Katie Aldrich