Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Beginning...

Okay. I like to write because often times I can express what I cannot say with my physical mouth. The words will come out in black and white though so please understand that I am just trying to express, to unveil as much of my heart as possible. I have some friends editing most of the upcoming notes and such but this one is just me.

I'm here. It has been a long time in my heart's waiting room to get the chance to come to Bosnia and try life for a while. I guess that is how life usually works and in all honesty the journey was worth it.

Basically to give you a little background info...
My Sarajevo story started in Sophomore year in college at Temple University Ambler when one of my landscape architecture professors gave me an article about a LA(landscape architect) doing humanitarian/community development work in Bosnia soon after the 1990's conflicts. Knowing my desire to use my abilities as a LA in a humanitarian setting, this professor gave me an article that described how I could possibly use my education in a humanitarian context and also spoke the country of Bosnia into my imagination.
As a senior I was able to interview this LA, Karla Christensen, for a professional practice course, working through some of the nitty-gritty realities of her life and work in Bosnia. Also, I was able to realize another experience when I spent two weeks in Haiti with an engineer and through that I learned that my pretty education did mean something in impoverished contexts where the needs were basic- food, water, shelter, and not flowery. Upon graduating, my mind was made up to pursue humanitarian work in Bosnia as a landscape architect.

Originally, I wanted to pursue this opportunity through the church because I believe in the Church's calling and responsibility to heal the spirits and bodies of the nations. I believe a mended spirit can mend the body but also that the process of meeting the physical needs of a person can release a new spirit in them. And so, I choose to work with a missions org that had a humanitarian heart and was doing work in Bosnia.

That decision involved the next year of my life as I joined the organization, traveled to Bosnia to learn and visit the team of volunteers there, and began the legwork of raising relational and financial support to begin life in Bosnia. All in all, life took a slight bend to the side as I realized my full commitment to this organization was making me compromise important aspects of who I am and what I believe so in October of last year, I formally left the organization.

So what next. I lived life and loved realizing a new life in Boyertown, PA with my emerging role as a manager at a newly established cafe, the Hard Bean, and I went to town with landscaping projects at my parents home in Bechtelsville- the Homestead. All of these avenues were healing for me and also instrumental in realigning my values and sentiments about pursuing community anywhere but especially at home and in Bosnia. The whole time I was also searching for new roads to get to Bosnia and then so unlikely I found an abstracted version through the Rotary Club and a Bosnian non-profit/NGO.

In May I was able to participate in a Rotary sponsored GSE (Group Study Exchange) program that took a group of younger professionals from their home countries to another part of the world to see how their professions looked there, how life was lived and how the Rotary clubs worked in their respective locales. The trip was great for me because it took our group from Southeastern PA to south-eastern Europe and I got so close to Bosnia being in the former Yugoslavian countries of Slovenia and Croatia. Overall, I had a month to travel and experience life in Europe again and most importantly I realized so accutely that I wanted to pursue life in this part of the world.

Okay. To sum it all up. I realized I couldn't keep waiting for a propped open door into a life in Bosnia. I had to check for open windows and the right keys. Through the Rotary Club, I was connected with a Bosnian family, Haso(rotary member) and Sadeta, whose son was hosted in the states by a Rotary member and were willing to host me. Also, I found a Bosnian NGO, Fondaciju Mozaik, which is doing outstanding community development work through out Bosnia but head quartered in Sarajevo and after initial emails it was clear their was a possibility to volunteer with them. So I am here. To learn the language. To check in with Mozaik and any other non-profits I come across. To live with Haso and Sadeta and make some other friends.
We will see what happens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.