My internship has been really great! I’m current working on some reproductive health projects. We are going to prepare for World Contraception Day in Banja Luka and Sarajevo in September to provide information and promote awareness. We are also going to facilitate some focus groups to determine what the general knowledge and myths about contraception are in Bosnia and use that information create some materials to dispel any myths and also understand how contraception awareness can be adjusted to fit a Bosnian context. These kinds of projects are intriguing to me as a former Planned Parenthood Health Services Specialist, and yet I’m definitely trying to figure out what reproductive health and reproductive rights look like in Bosnia.
During the day, I work at the Centar za zdravo starenje (the Center for Healthy Aging) in Novo Sarajevo. Basically I get to know elderly individuals who pay a nominal membership fee every month to be a part of this day center that has tons of different activities for them to do. While there I have the chance to participate in these activities alongside them. They teach me interesting things, like this shuffleboard type game or Turkish embroidering or Bosnian songs. I’m not good at any of it, I’ll tell you right now, but it’s nice to interact with people throughout the day. Some people really need the human connection and our interactions add to their life, and some people are really great at taking me in like a grandchild and adding value to my life. It is a really cool place and it is great to see people who may otherwise be alone during the day, be leading group activities, arguing over chess matches, and stimulating their brains through unique art forms. I would say the USA needs to model some of their elder care programs after this center.
I’m currently working on a photo project where I snap shots of all of the participants and write a bit about them. Except, everytime I snap a photo, people get so excited and they want to take them home, so it might be a awhile before I can get all of the project together. It’s been really great though. Some of the shots I’ve captured I feel tell a story about the person without you having to know anything else about them. I love hearing the stories and seeing the brightness of peoples lives while at the Centar and I am looking forward to continuing my work there and furthering my Bosnian language skills.