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In visita agli Amici di Srebrenica

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The crescent moon was serene, seeming to me that in a couple of nights it would grow into the full moon. We left the naturefriend house, Srebrenica when this crescent moon just had showed up from the behind of the top of the valley which surrounds the city of Srebrenica. We arrived at the house of a local couple who grows vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers in their gardens and firms.

In the front yard, the couple have a wooden patio with a big dining table on which a lot of prepared dishes were lined up by the time we got there. The papa of the house greeted us and escorted us to the seats and put a bottle of the homemade raspberry juice on the table. The mama of the house told us to start serving ourselves when she opened the rid of the pot of minestrone which she prepared for the night. We filled up our glasses with the raspberry juice and served minestrone in our soup bowl. The beginning of the banquet under the crescent moon. Nobody at this dinner table could take smiles off the face. Some kept refilling their soup bowl before touching other dishes on the table. Some moved on to the tomato and cucumber salad with yogurt dressing, or to the Bosnian pita with local cheese. Some directly went to the main dishes of the night, either the refilled paprika and eggplant, or the corn and egg tart. Despite the order of the course of the dishes of the night, every single of us shared some in common; ate a lot and made jokes of how full our bellis were; continued eating and kept laughing on the fact we could not stop eating.

The papa brought a single rose and put it in the role of the kitchen towel which was sit up on the center of the table, told us that all the vegetable we had tonight was organic and from their garden, so as this single rose from the greenhouse they have in the backyard. The mama brought a tray of steamed sweet corns and made a comment that the papa brings a single rose to her every morning. Looking at the rose and all the dishes on the table we had truly enjoyed, I felt as if I was touching the essence of the rich lives they lead in this valley. She asked us who wanted a cup of coffee accompanying with the desert which she prepared for the night. We realized that the steamed corns were not the desert but the mere pallet intervals before the raspberry cake. Our laugher again ascended to the starry night sky.

I stood up and walked to their pear tree. There was a water basin decorated with Bosnian colourful tiles right next to the tree. I filled up the water bottle for the table and looked up the crescent moon, thinking of the richness of the land; water, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, all of them were clearly cherished well by nature. Irvin, the host of the naturefriend house of Srebrenica and one of the principal figures of the “City of Hope” project, was there enjoying a cup of coffee and the cake at the table, talking to the papa and mama pleasantly and translating our conversation whenever needed.  Nadja, the Irvin´s mother, was there too, doing same as Irvin, at another end of the table.

Facing this scene of the warm banquet, a piece of thoughts struck my head; a thought that we were being the witness of this richness of this land, thus we were able to take a role of the messenger; not those who just bring awareness of the tragedy happened during the Bosnian war which still remain visible as scars in the bullet holes on the walls of the houses, or on the signs of the landmines in the forest around the city, but those who shares the hopes to their community. The hopes into which the courageous locals of Srebrenica such as Irvin and Nadja who already had determined to transform their scars. I am looking forward to going back there in next July to participate in the Mars Mira, the annual peace march of Srebrenica, and meet them and their hopes again. In a mean time, I will do my best as a messenger.

Blitz Ono

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