Bosnia has been an incredible experience that will be etched into my memory and mind. I’ve taken a little while to post my last reflection as I would like to include the transition back to Denver in here as well. After having spent almost two weeks filled with structured activities and immersing myself in the educational and cultural experiences of Bosnia, I find myself comparing my life in the United States to the simplicity of my “life” while in Bosnia. I have come to miss the appreciation of the little things and unique smells wafting from the multitude of bakeries and markets along with the fresh air of nature all around. I miss the Call to Prayer and admiring the some of the practices of the Muslim culture of which I do not think I have the discipline to commit to (even if I had been practicing my entire life, I believe it would still be very difficult). Being back in the States, I am surrounded by mass amounts of people, buildings, and materialism everywhere. I spent my first week back reflecting on myself and thinking that I was to always remember what some real struggles are; mine wither in comparison. I hope that I consciously try to appreciate what I have and am given so easily knowing that many others in the world, not just in Bosnia, do not have choices or opportunities like I do and may never have any. It makes me wonder what more can I do to recognize the differences in lifestyles and perceptions of challenges, traumas, and disparities between peoples. How can I honor what I have seen and experienced in Bosnia learning about the horrors of the genocide while also highlighting the resiliency and endless kindness/compassion we have seen from Hasan, Saliha, Ramis, the other locals, and the professionals at ICMP/others doing their part to remember and honor as well. Looking back on the last day being in Bosnia, I remember sitting in the park, drinking a cup of coffee and simply enjoying the view and natural silence around me. It was one of the most moving and memorable moments for me to simply be present yet remember all I had seen.
This experience has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on life and how others may live. I have an intense desire to travel further outside my usual realm and take what I’ve learned from Bosnia and its history to other parts of the world, including other parts of the United States. I hope that I don’t forget where I have been and utilize these thoughts, feelings, and memories of wholesome learning into my future aspirations. My wish is to educate others on what I have seen and also support them in their own processes and experiences in looking outside their own lives to see the bigger picture of their communities. How can we help where we are actually welcomed and wanted? How do we go about making an impact on social justice outside our own communities without imposing our ethics and morals upon others? Without undermining all the trials and tribulations others have gone through and using these histories to hone in on rebuilding stronger foundations of humanity?
Many questions and larger thoughts that I will probably always ask myself but hopefully having these types of platforms will encourage me to be conscientious as much as I can in whatever environment I am in. Ciao for now Bosnia. It has been an honor and gift welcoming me into your country and into a glimpse of your incredible lives.