the first few days.

Day 1. I arrived in the afternoon along with two other students. Sladjana and our wonderful driver helped us get our bags into the van and we took off for the hotel. The windy roads and the large van didn’t seem like the best match but our driver successfully and smoothly managed to get us to our hotel. After saying hello to the rest of the group, we set off to get dinner. After only a few short minutes of walking through the rain and the plethora of pigeons, we made it to the restaurant. We ordered a traditional food that resembled something of a mix between pastry dough, meat, vegetables and cheese. It was really filling and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Arriving seems like such a whirlwind and the last thing I remember is finally getting into bed to get some much needed rest.
Day 2. We all loaded into a bus the next morning andI was even further surprised about the size of the vehicle and the size of the roads. Again, our driver somehow managed to get us to our destination in one piece. First we drove around the town and our guide pointed out some of buildings and sights to see on our way to look at the Olympic soccer field. Once we arrived, our guide further explained the field and the damages that occurred during the war. It was so interesting to see an area that was once hosted the Olympic Games now have massive graves surrounding it. The greenery and sights were so incredibly beautiful from where we stood. The red of the houses, and the lush landscape was in such contrast with the horror of the history of what happened here less than 5 years ago. Next, we went to the Tunnel of Hope. It was inspiring to see one of the ways that people were fighting back to gain freedom. The tunnel provided several benefits for those living in Sarajevo to much needed supplies and resources. From here, we took off on the bus to a beautiful hotel up on the hill. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch as we took in the scenery and the beauty of the hotel. From here, we traveled back down to one of the oldest an largest Jewish cemetery’s. We explored the cemetery and saw the damage that had happened during the war. Our guide told us about the shootings and killings that occurred in the cemetery during a funeral. It was chilling to hear of such destruction that occurred even during a funeral. After this, we walked to the cable car that brought us back up the hill to the old bobsled track. It was a bit eerie walking on the racetrack knowing that it was once used by snipers when it originally brought so much joy to the community. Now, it has been repaired a bit and used for different activities such as skating and rollerblading. There was a lot of graffiti along the way and a few choice words directed at the U.S. president. This made me chuckle and of course a few of us took some pictures. After we made our way back down, we had a quick little walking tour on the way back to our hotel. We went to dinner at the brewery and listened to the band play songs for a table next to us.
Day 3. I accidentally first typed Day 33 but I almost left it because today seemed like a lifetime had passed due to everything we covered. We went to the university where we heard from a variety of speakers about the history of Bosnia and the current government organization, and social work agencies here in Bosnia. I already struggle with understanding the U.S government so trying to fully understand the government in Bosnia is a tough thing to tackle so I am not even going to try and explain it here. I was able to watch a documentary before I came about Bosnia and a band that had visited during the war. It made me realize how important the arts and music are for helping people make sense of what is happening around them. It reminded me of when I was in the Czech Republic and went to Terezin. Terezin was a concentration camp and inside were several exhibits of plays and art that was created by the Jewish community being imprisoned there. I remember my professor explaining to us that there was not much to do while being imprisoned, and that creating plays, art, and poetry was one small thing they were able to create and control. Even during times of horrific acts and war, people have found ways to connect with others through art and music and it was no different here in Bosnia.

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