Friday, September 06, 2013

Sarajevo and Zenica

I went this past week to Sarajevo for the first time since 2009. I used to go quite regularly as there were other people in YWAM there, or I needed to get visas (and I had a car which was mine and not just shared!), but since the others left and I have a British passport (and I share a car since mine was stolen!) I haven't been in FOUR YEARS... even I was shocked when I realised!

I needed to go to meet up with people there, and talk about bringing the Faith and Conflict conference (which I attended in May in Northern Ireland) there in 2014. I had lots of meetings, and coffees, and even a couple of lunches and it was great to catch up with all the wonderful people down there! I wish I had been intentional about getting photos, but I didn't even take one the whole time I was there, oh well.

I then went to Zenica for a couple of days just to catch up with people there (I used to live there many moons ago). It was lovely to see old friends and catch up with them as well. I had been there 2 years ago, so it wasn't quite as bad as Sarajevo...

I remember the first time I went to Sarajevo in 1999, it was on my first trip to Bosnia, and I was only there 2 days, but it was one of those moments in my life when I couldn't believe I was actually there in that particular place. It had only happened to me once before: on my first trip to Belfast in 1997. Both places torn apart by conflict, and both places trying to deal with the consequences of that conflict in the lives of its people.

This is why I think the Faith and Conflict conference, which was born in Belfast, is needed in a place like Sarajevo. Even though we don't have all the answers, we can seek them together, not just for Sarajevo, but for all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The meetings went well, and I believe that it will be good to have it in Sarajevo next year: now to continue the organising!


Victor said...

So could you use Bosnian in all those places? Or do you also speak Croatian and Serbian?

Belinda Chaplin said...

They are more or less the same language - just called different names. It is like calling English "American" or "Australian"... There are some more distinctions than that, but everyone can understand each other... so I can speak/understand all 3!

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