maart 29, 2010


Door Giselle Vegter

16. feb.
I am in a private mini bus that will bring me from Bratunac to Sarajevo. Inside a grandmother with grandson, a man and a pretty young woman. I apologize not speaking the language, but the young woman speaks English. She just has written a book about her life, a manuscript still, she lives in Srebrenica and studies politics in Sarajevo. She is astonishing beautifull and with her chewing gum and MP3 player she would fit in every global city. She is named Indira and later I will get in touch with her again. The elderly woman is smiling a lot to me, and shares her chips and bread. The little boy next to me is all the time looking carefully to the side, wanting to say something, but I think he doesn’t know what. The whole trip it stays almost silent, we drive through the Federation, not through the Republika Srpska. On the way we pick up two others, who great with Salam Aleikum. I realize i’m not only in a private bus, but in a private Muslim bus.  We pass villages with names I know from stories I’ve heard. Kladanj. Isn’t this the place where people fleeing from Srebrenica had to cross over a dangerous point?  I ask myself. Everytime these names of cities and places, that are connected to cruel things I don’t remember. We pass flat buildings that are still extremely damaged by granates. After almost 4 hours we enter Sarajevo, but I don’t recognize it. We are driving on small tracks, sometimes without asphalt. I have the impression the driver doesn’t want to take any metre that is in the Republika Srpska, but maybe this is my prejudiced perception. Indira goes off in Ilaz, a suburb. She greats, wishes me luck, I will look for her again. Now the atmosphere in the bus was not fitting for a talk. Then, at a stop later, the grandmother and boy step out. Officially he jumps up, stands in front of me and offers his hand. In proper English he says” Hello, my name is … (and that I didn’t hear because I was too perplexed) it was nice meeting you. Bosnian people are happy people. Thank you and goodbye”. And he jumps out. The grandmother proudly smiles and wishes me also luck.

The driver drops me on a tram station in the middle of flatbuildings, in the snow. I have no idea which direction the centre of Sarajevo is. That direction, he points out, I only see flats untill the horizon. I must be far out. Luckily I have exactly enough money for the tram, that arrives after 20 minutes in mist, snow and dusk in this piece of no man’s land. It’s the same tram that drives in Amsterdam, the title GVB is still on it (Gemeentelijk Vervoersbedrijf Amsterdam). In Tuzla we have the yellow Dutch buses, in Sarajevo a piece of Amsterdam. Only they don’t ring their bells here.  In the warm tram a man is sitting sleeping in front of me, all the time he almost falls of his chair. In 20 minutes I enter the old town of Sarajevo.


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