I am having a hard time believing it has already been 4 days since I left Sarajevo. I have been missing the pace of life, the kind people and perhaps most of all, the wonderful group of women I got to experience it all alongside. I think the reason I am having a hard time believing it has been 4 days already is because Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and our group have traveled with me. I will hold this experience in my heart for years to come. As I had predicted in my first post, this has been a life changing trip.
My eyes have been opened to the truth of not only the Bosnian War, but the truth of the Bosnian and Muslim people. They are kind, generous and living life to the fullest everyday. The spirit that was shared with us is the thing that I will hold most dear as I move forward in life and in my career in Social Work. To remain trauma informed has always been a goal of mine, but the survivors we met have reminded me that to be trauma informed does not and should not mean to assume those who have been through the most horrific of human experiences will be broken or feel like victims in their lives. People like Hasan and Saliha have reminded me that is is often those who have hurt the most and seen the worst who have the most to offer in terms of kindness, positivity and optimistic resiliency.
I will do my best to carry their truths with me and share them with open and curious minds. To me, the most important lessons I hope to carry with me from this journey are to speak the truth always, and to be eternally grateful. I intend to begin keeping a gratitude journal when I return home to remind myself of all the good we have in our lives to give me something to reflect on when my perspective gets clouded and the world seems too much to bear. The first pages will undoubtably be filled with moments from this trip and the names of all those who shared their truths with us. For all we have learned and all I have been so privileged to share, I am so grateful.
I know I will be back to visit this beautiful place again, so this is not goodbye, but see you soon. Hvala, Sarajevo.