Alison Morse

Alison Morse (BOSFAM): Alison graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in international relations. Alison worked for the International Institute of Boston, a nonprofit that helps refugees and immigrants in the Boston area. Alison worked with survivors of human trafficking, torture and domestic violence. At the time of her fellowship, she was pursuing a Master's degree in law and diplomacy at Tufts University's Fletcher School, focusing on development economics and human security.

Salt and Coffee

11 Jun

Tuz is the Turkish word for salt. Tuzla is an industrial city – the outskirts are populated with tall chimneys puffing smoke, coal heaped in piles and sinkholes from years of salt extraction.

Though Tuzla has all the makings of your average city – cars that don’t stop for pedestrians, horns and sirens going at all hours, and people shuffling from place to place – it also has a very rural feel.

This morning I was awakened by the rooster that seemed to be perched outside my window. As I poured some water at the kitchen sink I noticed two cows grazing on the hillside nearby.

This evening the ringing of the area church bells was aided by the barking of every dog in the neighborhood – a cacophony that overpowered the general din of the city.

I arrived at BOSFAM, my post for the summer, and instantly acquired four new mothers – I’m sure there will be more as I am introduced to more of the weavers. There is an easy pace to the organization, which will not be possible for me to maintain if I am continually consuming the multiple cups of potent coffee served throughout the day.

Raised as a tea drinker, I have quickly learned that I am going to have to make the transition to caffeine for the summer. Coffee is a tradition in Bosnia and clearly an important time for the women of BOSFAM to gather.

I equally fear that I will need to visit a dentist shortly upon return to Boston as coffee is traditionally served with cubes of sugar that are dipped in the coffee and then eaten once they soak up enough coffee, turning the white to a caramel color.

I sipped slowly on the morning round, warned that an empty cup would only be refilled. I could feel my blood racing through my veins throughout the morning, and just as that feeling began to subside it was time for the afternoon cup.

I can tell that my work is going to be challenging as there are many administrative pieces that lack organization and I must learn to balance my Western expectations of efficiency with the needs of the women and their pace of life.

Now that I have arrived I am curious to see how much I can accomplish in just two short months. Though there is much to be done to help Beba and her team of weavers build a stronger, more sustainable organization, my initial impression of BOSFAM is of an organization that is filled with friendship, compassion and a sense of survival.

Posted By Alison Morse

Posted Jun 11th, 2007

1 Comment

  • Monica Knab

    June 14, 2007


    Hello Alison,
    How exciting to be a part of Bosfam! Enjoy your stay! I work for Congressman Burton and I was fortunate to meet Bebe Nov.2004. I sincerely applaud her work. As you know,she is endearing, brilliant and proactive. I had hoped to return to Bosnia by now… Most assuredly this experience will be life changing for you. Many good wishes, Monica Knab
    P.S. I miss the coffee. I tell everyone it is the best coffee in the world!

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