day-to-day today

as requested by my dear brother, I will share my day-to-day life in Sarajevo. he pointed out that I generally post about Sarajevan life or weekend excursions, but not what I am actually doing here, and what I’ve done over the past month.

as I’ve mentioned, I am volunteering/interning/working with a British NGO called Hope and Homes for Children. basically, they are the only organization in Bosnia that gives families the emotional support and physical things that they need. the staff is mainly compromised of social workers and each have a hefty caseload of families they work with. so, what do I do? unfortunately, finding actual work is difficult due to the language barrier. I frequently visit Bosnian families (either foster parents with a foster child, families who have requested/been referred for mental health support, or we are delivering clothes/food/toiletries/whatever we can get donated) and although I can’t understand what they are saying, a HHC staff will translate for me, and it’s incredibly interesting to observe body language, gestures, tone, inflection, etc. all of the policy work and program evaluation documents that I am especially interested in are in Bosnian. and the families I have visited don’t speak a word of English. on Fridays, I give a presentation or training for the entire Bosnian staff, and the topic is up to me. examples of presentation topics are “foster care in America”, “neurobiological and psychosocial effects of trauma” and one in the works on helping treat PTSD on an outpatient basis using DBT and CBT.

their logo. clearly done by a graphic designer but meant to look like a child drew it.

a few days a week I head from work to the center of town to indulge in gelato at a cafe and use the free wifi. there isn’t too much to do around my apartment and I try to not get home super early after work. there’s a fruit/veggie stand across from my apartment that I frequent. he has recently become elated every time I come into the store (nearly every day) and I point to which baguette I’d like, and he helps me weigh out my produce. I absolutely look forward to his huge grin (he used to sigh and frown at me like everyone else). the tv channels are almost entirely in Bosnian (we get CNN, the Discovery channel, and occasionally MTV will be in English) and I’d rather not spend my summer watching tv anyway.

it takes me approximately 90 minutes to get to work each morning on the trolley bus, so I have plenty of time to listen to my iPod and observe Sarajevans. I live in a suburb of Sarajevo called Dobrinja, and every time I tell Sarajevans where I live, they are amused/nearly impressed that I live in an area that is completely composed of Bosnians. Dobrinja is incredibly damaged from the war, for a multitude of reasons. firstly, there aren’t tourists out here and the government doesn’t feel the need to renovate the endless amounts of tall apartment buildings (they are all littered with bullet holes and mortar holes), and apparently Dobrinja was invaded by the Serbs and thus has entirely more damage than the inner parts of Sarajevo.

my internship can be slow at times, but that’s mainly because I don’t speak Bosnian and it can be difficult for the staff to figure out how I can actually help. Translating a document, explaining it to me, then I work on it, and then its translated back to Bosnian takes a significant more amount of time than the staff simply doing the work themselves.

please let me know if there are any requested topics, questions, whatever. sometimes I question what is interesting or not to read about :)


7 thoughts on “day-to-day today

  1. Nora Canty

    Glad to know we are not the only “inquiring minds”. Thanks to Michael for asking the right question. And, thank you for enlightening us on your daily routine.
    Love, G&G

    1. turnthisway Post author

      you are most certainly welcome :) and thanks for the nice note on the 4th of July! we did a little Bosnian-American celebrating!

  2. Cathy Arrington

    Appreciate the details too! Am really enjoying reading Cellist of Sarajevo, a novel taking place in Sarajevo in the 1990s.

  3. Amy

    I am loving your blog! This post was especially fun to read because it helped form a picture in my head of what you are up to in Bosnia. So I just google mapped Dobrinja and it is definitely out there! Kinda reminds me of the far off town I lived in the DK.

    1. turnthisway Post author

      I had the super close to center/urban experience in DK so this is much more like where you were! :)


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