“How was Bosnia” “Where did you go again?” “How was your trip?”
“Aren’t you glad to be home?”
Through use of this blog and the meaningful photos I shared with friends and family on social media, I did the best I could to encompass the impact this experience and this place had on my soul. To me, this summer in Bosnia was not a vacation. No amount of words would suffice in my answering good intended questions such as these. Rather, I ask that you ask what you wish to know. I want so much to share with you my dear friends the beauty of the rolling hills and varying species of pines and evergreens foreign to our soil. I want to tell you about the purity of the water and its natural turquoise hue. I want to tell you about the generosity of the people and all the lessons to be learned from their humility and resilience. I want to open your eyes to the beauty of Islam and the teachings that carried with me. I want to tell you about the mental health programs I was fortunate enough to help develop for marginalized groups in the community. I want to talk about the friends I made and the truly inspiring individuals I met along the way. On the other end, I could go on and on about how sickened I was witnessing the denial of genocide up close. I could tell you about the confusions of trying to navigate nationalist ideals across the regions when one minute you’re in an accepting place and the next minute you see obscene gestures exemplifying hate and hostility towards different races and religious groups. I want to tell you about witnessing the 71 coffins pass over the crowd after Marš Mira, holding the recently discovered remains of victims from 22 years ago – dug up from the lands we had just walked 60 miles across. I want to share with you the raw emotions we experienced listening to personal accounts of tragedy and loss.
You see, well-intended questions cannot reach the meaning and importance that this summer brought. These questions cannot provide answers that will give this experience the validity that it holds to me. I came back a littler wiser, a lot more curious and ready to leave again.