Things have been very busy here since the 11th passed. Although the press is gone and the international focus is gone, Potocari and Srebrenica still find their way into most conversations here. Many of the women are going back to their regular lives, but some are still having a difficult time. One woman here, Beba mala (Little Beba, as there are 2 women named Beba) buried her husband last week at the ceremonies. She was only 26 when they were separated and he disappeared. She also lost a brother and her father in the massacre. Some days tears run down her cheeks as we have coffee together, other days she laughs and smiles at my pitiful attempts to speak Bosnian. Yesterday she couldn’t get out of bed, and didn’t even make it to the office. I worry about her and her young son. The joy of raising her son watching him grow with her husband was stolen, and I can see that at times, she is just a shadow of who she should be.
Mixed with all the solemn times and sad moments, there is a lot of laughing here too. Last week, Zifa finished a carpet she had been working on since I got here. I watched the large 8×10 carpet come to life over the months I have been here. I was out of the office when she finished, but she asked the other women when I was expected back as she knew I wanted to see the carpet cut off the loom. When I arrived back, she got the scissors and led me to the loom, and then we began cutting it off together!! She graciously let me cut, and we took pictures as I giggled and watched this newly made carpet fall off the loom. After it had fallen to the floor, we all gathered around and began knotting the fring of the rug. It was noted by all that I was by far the slowest one to knot the fringe!
I have less than one full week left in Bosnia, and I have very mixed feelings about leaving this place. The women here have loved me and cared for me in my two months here, and I am sad to leave them behind. While they have tried to marry me off to their sons, joked with me about my extremely limited vocabulary, they have also loved me, unconditionally. I learned a saying here, paraphrased it says, love is not a tomato so don’t give away a case for free. Lucky for me, these women give me cases and cases of love, for free, everyday.
Posted By MacKenzie Frady Arbogust (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Posted Jul 22nd, 2005