"Hvala" is Bosnian for "thank you". This word I used most frequently in this coffee-drinking, hospitality-based social culture. for some reason when the Bosnian words I did know escaped me, I reverted to Swedish. I received some odd looks when I spoke a bit of Swedish before realizing what I was doing.

There are many questions to answer. And what is the simplest way, I do not know. But as a wise team-mate of mine said, it's best to start at the beginning.  So I will post some of the basics about the city of Gorazde, (pictured) and then maybe some more personal stuff later on. 

Bosnia is being effected by the economic crisis, much like the rest of the world, but with greater severity. Roughly half of the country is employed, leaving the other half to find other means of income. The majority of those unemployed receive a small amount of pension from the government, whether it be from a past job or reconciliation for losses in the war. However, even the pension system within Bosnia is failing, as the government is fighting corruption and bankruptcy. But the people try as best as they can to live with what they get.

The city of Gorazde faces about 75 per cent unemployment and almost every family we met had at least one member of the family receiving a small pension. 

Most, if not all, people blame the hard times they are now facing on the war in the 1990’s. The former Yugoslavia was a prosperous nation for its people -- they lived a good life with job security, "peace", food, nice homes, maybe as most Europeans. Now they live in a world trapped between the high living costs of Europe and the desolation and poverty brought on by war -- the evidence of which is still everywhere you look.

Many of the families we met said it was difficult cope with the enormous atrocities of war and how it was a daily struggle just to hope for something better. Often, hope is placed in their children’s lives, with hope for a better future.

As things are, in Bosnia religion and ethnicity go hand in hand. If you are Croatian, by default, you are Roman Catholic. Serbian: Eastern Orthodox. Bosnian: Muslim. Gorazde is almost completely Bosniak (the term for a Bosnian Muslim).

We worked with one of the only non-governmental organizations left in the city, a place called the Hope Center. They run food distributions, English and adventure camps for kids, education programs and agriculture programs -- pretty much anything they can manage to meet a need. It was through this center that we purchased food to do distributions of food -- flour, sugar, salt, pasta, rice, oil -- to people who were in need.

There is so much more to say. But for now, this is a little picture of where we were... Will post more later.

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