From Durham to the Balkans: Life in Bosnia


Hannah Waller will be spending summer 2014 living and conducting research in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). She received an International Research Opportunities Grant from the University of New Hampshire to fund her research on transitional justice in BiH.

Last Week in BiH

I apologize for the lack of blog updates- after a week in Sarajevo and a week in Rome, it has been a hectic last two weeks in Sanski Most wrapping up interviews, packing and arranging transportation to the airport, and helping out at the Center for Peacebuilding. The last couple weeks we have hosted a “Global Kids” delegation from New York City, who were paired with Bosnian youth and taught about peacebuilding through various workshops and lectures. I helped out at some of these events, and had a great time getting to know the kids and telling them about my experience in BiH.

It has been fascinating to be in Sanski Most during the month of Ramadan. Vahidin, Mevludin, and their wives all fast from sunrise until sunset, and have a big celebration dinner (iftar) at the end of each day. Most restaurants in Sanski Most don’t serve alcohol during Ramadan and close much earlier than usual. Over the weekend, I went with Vahidin and his family to Hrustovo (a nearby village where Vahidin grew up) and celebrated iftar with them in the evening. It was an incredible experience as we sat together under the stars and had our last meal together. I will miss my Bosnian family dearly, but am thankful that I was able to spend two months with them!

Sadly, the Global Kids delegation left for Sarajevo on Sunday, and with them went Vahidin and his family, as well as the other co-director of CIM, Mevludin, and his family. They don’t get back to Sanski Most until Friday, and I fly out of Zagreb, Croatia early that morning. Due to this, I had to say the majority of my goodbyes earlier than I expected, which was difficult. However, I promised them all I would be back soon, at the very least in a year after I graduate from UNH and hopefully apply for another type of travel grant or scholarship. I have had such a wonderful time in BiH, and have really fallen in love with the country, culture, and people.

Today is Tuesday, and I will leave on Thursday to drive to Zagreb, Croatia. I will then stay the night at a hotel near the airport and fly out on Friday morning. Time has really flown by here, and I can’t believe that it’s time to pack up my suitcase and go back to my life in New Hampshire. I truly believe BiH has changed me for the better, and I will never forget the memories I have made here.

“Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you until we meet again.”