‘Our Way’ A story of community spirit in Priboj, BiH

I had the chance to participate in Peace Camp this year. The training is the main, annual project that CIM organises, involving young people from across Bosnia. I had the chance to have a casual conversation with one of the group leaders. Mili is a very outgoing, free-spirited person, and his energy is amazing. We were sitting down in the hotel’s lounge, working away on our computers. Suddenly he complains about the slow internet and explains he had to send a person a link. They had enquired how he managed to build a tennis court with under 3000 euros in his local community. I was interested, and as he went on to tell me what had happened I was speechless. I asked Mili if he would be ok to record this story for our globalgiving project, and not only did he agree to that, but also to posting his story here.

It goes like this:

In 2008, I watched a tennis tournament in Australia for the first time on tv. Ana Ivanovic got a great result, and I got the idea to build a tennis court. I spoke with a lot of people from the local community and they made jokes about my idea. I spent 4 years searching for possibilities to build the tennis court, never gave up. After 4 years, I got information about youth bank possibilities to get 1000 E, if we have 5 young people ready to work on the project and find minumum half more from another source. We started campaining indidvidually, when I explained the backround to people they started to trust me more. The funds could be in money or other type of support. we got promises from local companies to flatten the ground. Before that we needed to ask the local football club to give us land and to my surprise it was very easy in the centre of town, close to the school next to the main road, and the football court. The company came with a different machine than needed, they tried to make it flat but it was impossible and i organised zoung people, first 10 than more and we started to fix the ground to prepare it for the next stage. At the same time, still the community, even if they gave us the money they still didn’t fully believe, it was 40 degrees in August, they thought we were crazy, and we had a timeframe. It was a 3 month project. After we flattened it (6 days) we started to dig the foundation for the fence, again manually, the young people only had shovels and other basic tools. We spent 3 days on it, because the fence was long, around 100 metres. It was a hard job because the ground was rocky, but we managed it. After that the next step was to buy stones to make cement to fill the foundation with an iron net inside. After that we did the first foundation stage. After, we asked local building companies for wooden materials to hold the foundation, 25 cm above the gorund. We did it ourselves, we worked 3 days and made the boards and blocks. We filled the boxes with iron pillons. Again we did it alöne with tools from friends and family, and the local community. Again 4 four of us digged again diagonally for the drainage, we collected rocks from the river with a mini tractor and filled the hole completely to make the draining systen. After that my friend with a big truck put the second layer of small stones for the tennis court. 40 m3 and we got this 3 times cheaper than the regular market price. When we brought this we organised 3 tractors from the community to move these stones to layer them. The guy with the skip, came to the tennis court and tried to flatten everything, and again we didn’t have to pay anything. It was a donation in kind, again. 6 or 7 of us made is completely flat again with basic tools.The next step was to layer the residue black clay for the local power plant, again 40m3. My friend who had a truck went there, and I promised I would pay him 35 E for each truck ride. He did 3 rides and again manually me and 5 friends flattened it, completely manuallz. 10 cm thick. Still some people from the community said we were crazy and we would never make it. A lot of local politicians offered us finanacial support, but only if we joined their party and promoted them. Unfortunately for them I refused it, even if they wanted to give us all the money. We had promised the local community that the local politicians would not be involved, and that’s why they donated. I refused politely and said I couldnt make it political, and wanted the courts to be build with the support of local residents. At the same time, I was training for to become a tennis referee and I asked support from the national tennis association. They offered to help me. They gave us the tennis lines, and I asked them for the red clay and they were reluctant. I was grateful though because the lines were 350 E. I came from Banja Luka, and I gave the community this news. Because of the size of the black clay which was uneven, we had to ask for the roller truck again, and we actually got a tube full of concrete with a metal stick, more than 200 kg, and we did it ourselves with that improvised tool. I went to the mayor to ask for a bit of help and he said he couldn t help but he said he had a friend who could help. We got the machine and we rolled the black clay some more. We even worked during rain. It was hard but we didn’t give up. We ran out of money for the red clay. We asked local companies for a machine to crush bricks to make red clay, but it didn’t work. When we told the tennis association we collected all money from the local community, only 15 minutes later we got a call from a guy in Banja Luka and he said he would give us all the red clay for the money we got. He was from Switzerland. He also transported it. The drivers paid for our drinks too. The local school sent all the 9th graders with 2 staff to help put down 30 tonnes of clay. We got the Accomplishement of the Year Award from the National Tennis Association for this.  The media started to pay attention because i posted a photo album on
facebook called ‘our way’ , and everyone was surprised. We built the tennis court our way with our hands, with a small ammount of money. I published all the photos step by step, and from that the people who didn’t believe in us came to us to shake our hands. It was a massive sucess because we proved everyone we could do it, and because of all the hard work. All the time some people said we would steal the money don t do anything. The whole entity was surprised about the award we got. I was so happy especially for the young people who worked with me.

 

The step by step photos of this project can be found here.

Globalgiving Storytelling Project: Visit to Fenix

On Wednesday we decided to have a ‘field trip’ to Fenix for the storytelling collection. Fenix is a local organisation that aims to provide the social services that so often lack in Bosnia. They have a maternity room, a home for elderly people, a soup kitchen and a hostel which also acts as a shelter for homeless people. Knowing that the people they help are some of the most disadvantaged in the local community we really wanted to get their stories.

Me and my new colleague, Claudia recruited two local volunteers, made contact with the manager of the centre through a friend who works there, and agreed to go and collect the stories at around 10 am. At first, the manager introduced us to a woman who agreed to share her story. Most people hadn’t arrived yet. We let Elmin, our youngest volunteer do the first interview. It was his first time doing this type of work and he only got half an hour of training. We sat next to him, ready to support him with anything he needed. There was no need though. We were so amazed with how brilliant he was, how professional, clarifying certain things, actively listening, and showing so much interest in the story.

Another man agreed to have an interview and Claudia and Haris went with him outside. After Elmin finished his first interview, we tried to ask more people if they would want to chat to us, but most people refused. They also seemed to be quite suspicious. Later on though, more people heard about what we were doing and soon after that, we had more people interested than we could handle. Elmin sat in one place for 5 interviews, one after the other. Outside Claudia and Haris also got more people interested.

One thing we learnt from this experience is that trying to be more spontaneous did not give as good results as when we would schedule interviews with one person at a time. From a quantitative point of view it was better, but the quality of the research was not as great as in the past. The stories were very heavy, and seeing how much people rushed to us to tell us what had happened to them was very sad and exhausting. We were literally drained of all energy after just two hours. I also noticed that the amount of information decreased. The stories, as important as they all were in content, got shorter the more we stayed there and the more people we interviewed. Another important lesson was how much better it is to use an audio recorder. I would normally just take notes, and write down the stories, but having Elmin with us, who had just recently participated in a programme related to youth activism and digital media was great for us to give it a try. We asked everyone what they preferred and only two people agreed to be recorded, however, those seemed to be the stories with the most context and emotion. I will definitely try to use it more from now on.

It was devastating to hear the stories on Wednesday. It is heart-breaking when people who are some of the most disadvantaged in the community had their houses completely destroyed, and now, once again they are left with nothing. As Elmin said later that day, these people literally have nothing more to lose in life, all is gone. First their families were killed in the war, and now, just when they managed to rebuild their homes and move on, the catastrophic floods occurred, and they lost everything again. There were many organisations people mentioned helped them. One person in particular really moved us by saying how grateful he was to us personally and to CIM for recording their stories and telling the world what conditions they have to live in. Indirectly, the lack of services, the poor economy, and most of these problems that people face are a direct result of the conflict, and poor political decision-making and cooperation at the national level. Whilst we try to overcome these obstacles and do our best to have programmes that address the issue of national and grassroots reconciliation, I am also thankful to Fenix and all other organisations in the local community who deal with the consequences of the political and economic situation in Bosnia.

GlobalGiving Evaluation Programme in CIM

In May we received an email from Globalgiving UK asking whether we might be interested in hosting two evaluators to visit us. Knowing about the programme and what it implied I immediately sold the idea to our directors who also got very excited about it. I am so happy we said yes, despite being such a busy summer.

Michelle and Sam, our evaluators arrived on the 27th of July and stayed with us for 7 days (2 days more than planned). They both had backgrounds in development work, and received training from Globalgiving.

We had many discussions about CIM, from the work we do, our impact, our target audience, and programmes to finances, administration, environment, and well-being. I loved how enthusiastic they got about CIM’s vision of building a Peace Embassy. I took them on a walk along the river to the piece of land we want to buy, and I loved how they already had ideas in mind of what we could do there. It was so refreshing to meet up with such creative people who got so inspired by our vision.

We also spent a lot of time talking about challenges and things we could do better. One day we got so carried away that we ended up having lunch, coffee, and tea for 5 and a half hours in Stari Hotel. We dissected our website, social media engagement, fundraising ideas, potential partnerships, graphics and illustrations, catchy titles, and more!

Sam and Michelle brought a good dose of positive energy to the office, and both me and my colleague Claudia have started working on some issues we discussed the same day they left us. Globalgiving, can you send them back sometime, molim?

We went to the beach, but the storm found us!

David’s Reflections from Visiting CIM

Together with Elynn, David is travelling for his studies/research and whilst in Bosnia he got in touch with CIM and came to visit us last weekend. They had a chance to spend a day with our directors and find out more about the organisation. Me and my housemate, Hannah, hosted David, Elynn, and Louis (a PhD student from the University of Birmingham) in our house, and had a lovely time sharing thoughts, music, and having nice conversations about the things we are passionate about. Below you can read David’s reflections on his experience visiting us:

He was a friend of the daughter of a woman who occasionally leads an Ingram Scholar meeting. Safe to say it was a loose connection. So when Vahidin Omanovic invited me to Sanski Most, a town five hours north of Sarajevo unfamiliar even to some Bosnians, for an interfaith iftar, I had no idea what I was getting into or with whom. This was one bet that paid off.

Vahidin is the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Peacebuilding (CIM) and a professional peacebuilder. Together with Mevludin Rahmanovic and a host of local and international volunteers, Vahidin aims to rebuild trust and foster reconciliation among the people of Bosnia—Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, and others—as well as support peace processes in other countries that have suffered from violent conflict. There is not a person better suited for the job.

Vahidin’s animated personality and contagious smile together with his unrelenting devotion to family and community made me feel right at home sipping espresso in this strange town. And that is precisely what CIM aims to accomplish. One of their ventures, Coffee for Peace (Kahva, Kava, Kafa Za Mir), brings together local citizens for conversations about the dynamics of reconciliation in a post-war society. CIM recognizes that the simple act of getting to know just one individual from “the other” group (whether it be an ethnic, religious or national divide) can challenge the biases created by war. Mevludin added, “You have to bring it to a human level. You have to see people on a human level. All it takes is one coffee.”
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On Friday evening, the Center for Peacebuilding hosted an interfaith iftar. Iftar is the breaking of the daily fast for Muslims around the world. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from 2:30am until sundown (about 8:30pm) every day for thirty days. Through the absence of all substances including food, water, and cigarettes, one is pushed to reflect on life, hardship, and his own faith. In 2010 when CIM first introduced the idea for an interfaith iftar, paradoxical by definition, they were met with harsh criticism. Few local restaurants offered to donate food. Security personnel were present at the event. Four years later, when CIM posts the date of the interfaith iftar on Facebook, local restaurants call them to donate. Carpets are rolled out for an abundance of food. Student choirs belt out songs from various religions in multiple languages. Even members of the United States embassy attended the event. It is a slow process, but the Sanski Most Center for Peacebuilding is making waves in the world of conflict resolution.

There ought to be a footnote on my diploma next to Bachelor of Arts in Political Science that reads:Appreciates theory, celebrates data. As a matter of preference, if I were making the case to a panel of investors, I would rather stand next to a chart that empirically demonstrates the effectiveness of my product, than rely on heartfelt testimonials. In every interview that I have conducted in the last month, I have enquired about the methods of measuring the success of peacebuilding efforts. It is ‘the billion dollar question,’ as one scholar observed, referring to the exceptional amount of funding behind government programs and nongovernmental organizations working in the field of conflict resolution (Vahidin would scold me if I didn’t mention that CIM is not among the recipients of this funding and relies solely on grants and donations. Mevludin explained the difficulty in measuring peace:

It is one of the hardest parts. A gardening project is easy to track, you grew one ton of potatoes for example. But peace is very hard. We have people who participated in our Peace Camp and when they went home, they became the leading figures in NGOs in their own communities or established new NGOs. We have seen a large increase in local funding and participation for the annual iftar. It is showing us that people feel part of a community. But you can never know how many people you will affect when you change one person’s mind.

This last line hooked me. Unlike a product that achieves a desired outcome (remove dirt from a carpet or regrow hair) and a trial that measures its validity, a peacebuilding initiative may have far-reaching and potentially unmeasurable effects. As Mevludin described, CIM sees the small wins–increase in local participation in the interfaith iftar, for example–but cannot measure the total impact it is having in Sanski Most. So in a sense,donating to the Center for Peacebuilding is a gamble. But this is one bet that is sure to pay off.

via Betting on Peace.

A Weekend in Sanski Most

almondsasdiamonds:

The reflections of a recent guest we hosted in our home last weekend. Such beautiful words! Thank you Elynn!

Originally posted on ...for my long walk is not ended:

20140723-162400-59040448.jpgSanski Most is a small northern town in BiH with a diverse population, and had recently been impacted by the damaging flooding in the country. This general description was about all I knew as we traveled five and a half hours by bus to the city for the weekend. David had been in communication with the organization, The Center for Peacebuilding (CIM), and they kindly invited us up for an interfaith Iftar* they were holding on Friday night. CIM was celebrating the fifth year of running the event, and its success was evident by the staff’s pride at the end of the night. During its first year, CIM found the community reluctant to donate resources due to historical religious tension and the barrier-breaking nature of such an event. However, this year a simple Facebook announcement motivated enough donations to feed about 400 people of all faiths, ethnicities, nationalities, and…

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My stray pets III

Picture this:

A big, skinny dog sitting in the middle of a crowded street. His empty stare is fixed on a point, he looks hungry, doesn’t move. People walk back and forth, no one notices him. He keeps on staring at that point, looking helpless, abandoned, lost, hungry. No one stops. Why is that dog just sitting, staring in the middle of a street?

We stop. Pet the dog. He gently jumps up and puts his front paws on my hips and looks at me as if he were haunted by something. Dogs are not generally skinny here. The strays, the ones with families, they look ok. It looked like he gave up on looking for food. His look was so desperate and sad.

My neighbour here has 26 dogs. We wondered why. We found out she was taking dogs in trying to sort out international adoptions for them. A stray dog kept walking around, always at the gate, barking, running, trying to get in. It was like he knew it was a shelter and dogs were cared for inside. He tried so hard. He was then told off. He stood at the gate for a few days, watching the dogs inside play and run around happy. He stayed there for days, quiet, and just staring. He is now inside. Because of his begging, silent begging, he was invited in. I’ve been here for over a month, I’ve never seen that dog so happy before. His eyes are shinning, it’s like his soul is smiling. He doesn’t have a permanent home, but my neighbour’s children play with him now that he got a bath.

Have a look at these lovely creatures that live next to me and play in the river behind my garden on facebook .

Storytelling Collection Developments (week II)

The second week of our Storytelling Collection Project has just ended. The good news is, I have managed to speak to our volunteers individually and they have at least scheduled interviews in order to collect stories. Since I have arrived I have been posting more on social media, and have written a grant proposal for Peace Camp. I am almost finished, the only thing missing is a story of success. I am taking my time filling in that box. I know the standard would be to tell a story from the organisation’s perspective, though I would really like to incorporate a lesson learnt from globalgiving, and I have asked a person who took part in our project to tell the story from their perspective.

I find there is a lot of free time in between small tasks in CIM, so I have also started taking interviews from people who speak English well. After three stories, I realised something. Not being from here was not a disadvantage, on the contrary. I remember in Corrymeela, people would come to me, tell me their stories without any notice or context. After a casual chat where they asked where I was from, what I did there, and how I found the experience, they poured their hearts out, and I have been told on several occasions: ‘I have never told this to anyone before’.  When speaking to my mentors about it, they said most likely it happened because I was an ‘outsider’. When I asked a person I had met this year through mutual friends if they could tell me a story, they accepted. I was not expecting what followed. When I got towards the end of the form, and adapted the question and asked: ‘how likely would you be to tell your friends/family or organisations about this person?’, they said: ‘I have actually never told this to anyone else before. I wouldn’t just randomly bring this up in a conversation’. This really had an impact on me, and I am now happy I decided to interview community members as well, it just shows me how important it is to ask people for a story, as otherwise we might never get to know what is important to those we wish to serve and empower. It motivates me to motivate others even more to do this regularly.

The beginning of the project has not been without challenges. The fact that we are collecting the stories during Ramadan means that it is harder to meet up collectively to follow the progress. Especially young people tend to switch their activity to night time (as they sleep late during the day, and eat their first meal just before 9pm). Iftar (breaking fast after the sun sets) is also an important family tradition here, and that means meeting people generally happens after 9:30pm, and the volunteers’ schedules vary accordingly.

Another challenge as I have been told and witnessed myself is collecting two stories from one person. People don’t seem to find it hard to think of a story, but for two they need more time. Some volunteers have been told they would get interviews from various people, though they will need to wait for them to have two stories ready. I have personally had a more spontaneous interview, and we stood there for about 20 minutes, when the person said they found it hard to think of something else, and when I sensed a slight frustration might kick in, I told them I could do with just one, especially since it was not about CIM.

The scribes we’ve recruited seem to be quite independent, despite most of them being quite young (16-18). They are happy to meet up and chat, but when I ask if they need any help or have any more questions, they enthusiastically respond that everything is in order.

Another challenge, which I’ve adapted to has been facebook. People in Bosnia use facebook as their main means of communication. I use facebook extensively as well, and post on average at least twice a day on my personal page, whilst also posting content on the organisation’s page. In Bosnia people use facebook more than face to face or phone communication. If I post an announcement about the project on our volunteers’ group, everyone likes my post. I literally get a 100% like return. No one usually comments though, not even when I post a question. I then started to send more individual messages (after I had received friend requests from everyone + their friends). This seems to be working much better, they respond much quicker and provide me with more information. It’s definitely something to think about more in order to get better at this.

Because I have more free time than anticipated, I have decided to gradually input the stories into the database as well. I realised it also pretty much takes as long, if not less than scanning everything to be sent out to globalgiving. It is more efficient this way.

Polako (slowly) we’re making progress :)

Globalgiving Storytelling Project-Bosnia Edition

Over the past three years storytelling has become central to most of what I do. I never paid too much attention to it before, but since first coming to Bosnia I have begun to purposely acknowledge how both myself and others around me used it. I had positive experiences: listening to inspirational stories that in one way or another changed my life and the path I followed, and negative (but constructive) experiences: witnessing hopelessness, trauma, anxiety, anger, disillusionment.

From an academic point of view, this conflict transformation approach was ruined for me, and I surprised myself that despite my very negative experience with that specific module, I have not given up on it yet, on the contrary, I am eager to learn both in formal and informal ways.

I happen to be back in Bosnia. Together with the CIM directors, we agreed to apply for a grant from Globalgiving for a community feedback project. Basically Globalgiving do not only provide you with the basic tools that any other fundraising website would, but they also put a lot of time into training community based organisations. From fundraising to social media, from M&E to reporting, they do it. There’s more though. For the past four years, globalgiving have been busy with a storytelling project in East Africa.  Organisations from the region and their volunteers collected 57 000 stories from local communities. A new, easy to use analysis tool was developed and all the stories now make up a huge database. Organisations can input their stories, analyse and improve their programmes according to findings from the analysis.  This led to a new model to be adopted by globalgiving: listen, act, learn.

At first, I was ok with the model, it sounded very good, and I was intrigued. Then, I was a bit worried about this development. As members of globalgiving, organisations would all have to follow the East Africa Storytelling Project approach in order to become more visible and gain points: collect stories, analyse, act on the findings, learn, and repeat. I thought that many community organisations would not have the capacity to do so much work just to keep a fundraising page, when others would be much less hassle. I knew for sure, it would be difficult for CIM, and was afraid that there would be little capacity to cope with the new system, particularly since we already have our own internal evaluation system. On the other hand, I like to challenge myself and to find the best possible solution to a potential problem. I know this made me even more committed to find local capacity for CIM to fundraise on globalgiving, which is on my to-do list for this trip, and I am getting closer to ticking the box. In this way, we can ensure that feedback collection will happen on the ground, and I can still handle the communications and analysis from anywhere in the world.

I see globalgiving  raising the bar by raising the standards for local organisations in terms of programming. So indirectly and slowly, globalgiving could create a network of grassroots organisations that have a professional level in fundraising, evaluation, and programme development. The tools they need are easy to use. The points based system is somewhat competitive. The rewards they get are too good to move away from. Those who will be serious about development work, will have adapt, improve and sustain an impact on the ground in order to keep getting the benefits. It really seems to be a win-win situation.

The whole process of planning the project happened very fast, I made a draft plan when the grant proposal was submitted, and since I heard we got it, I’ve been planning and thinking of strategies and back up plans on buses, trains, and flights, whilst the other CIM staff were recruiting volunteers. It was a massive incentive to move forward and brought a lot of enthusiasm to the office. Of course, some things have worked well so far, but I have also found it a bit challenging. The Bosnian way of working  is way more relaxed than what I am normally used to. Thankfully, I am the flexible type, and despite the fact that I cannot relax so much and need to have a regular intense mode to function, I manage to work well with the local culture. I think it is the Bosnian humour which I find strange but hilarious that helps a lot. Having Balkan roots also means I am familiar with the work ethic. The centre directors really trust me and let me do the work at my own pace, knowing that I can slow down when I have to, and whenever I’m alone, party time: intense work mode switches back on so I can really feel like I’m maximising productivity in the time I have.

I am focusing a lot  on monitoring the project development and identifying strengths, weaknesses and possible solutions to the latter. Last night I got a tip from a globalgiving staff member, used it, and got a great reaction from a volunteer I trained, which was very rewarding. I also met some volunteers from another local organisation which has a soup kitchen and a hostel for people in need of food and shelter. I am hoping to chat with them some more, and see if both the organisation and the people who benefit from their project might be ok with us making some coffee and cake and collecting some stories one afternoon. I remembered that once I witnessed a violent scene with a homeless person who was very drunk. I asked people what was happening and they said he was an alcoholic who lost his whole family during the war, developed an alcohol addiction and lost everything. The locals I was with said that no one pays attention to him, and ignore him completely. It is a memory that really stuck with me.  As a peacebuilding organisation that focuses mostly on youth, we don’t usually have access to people in such situations, and I think it would be good for us to document their stories. The organisation I mentioned above has been working with CIM very closely in relief efforts during the floods, and the storytelling collection project could perhaps lead to even closer links.

In terms of analysis, I am playing around with the tool built by globalgiving, and trying to master it by the time we will get to do our own analysis and compare and contrast trends with other peace and conflict stories in the database. I am very excited about it, especially since I may be getting some input from an economist/political philosopher, and a former CIM volunteer who is specialising in gender issues.

No, it’s not all about the end result

This week I had to fly to London for an interview. As much as I put a lot of effort into preparing myself, and really focused on what I was there for, I managed to really enjoy the whole process, including everything non-related to the event itself.  There were many things I was surprised by, learnt, discovered, and liked in my 5-day trip.

1. We are interconnected. There is no doubt about that. It is more amazing when you can actually see how much it counts to think positive and be determined to achieve high goals, as the attitude can be a bit ‘infectious’ and though you may leave one place, you would have had an impact on the attitude of those you were in contact with.

2. Solidarity. So much of it that I started to feel overwhelmed.

3.  Justice vs Injustice. We need more people to stand up when we see someone trying to take advantage of the vulnerable. Living with ‘I should have done something about it’ is not worth it.

4.  I had two of the most amazing conversations in my entire life, by being in the right seat on the train. I am happy I took off those headphones, put my book down and responded to people’s mild efforts to make a casual conversation. It turned out I met some of the kindest, wisest, and loveliest people in this way.  In particular, after about 2 hours of conversation, a woman from Ecuador told me there is no way I will fail my dreams, I was not born for that, I was born not only to be a leader, but one that the world needs. You get so much desire to work to achieve such goals when you realise even strangers believe in you.

4. In line with the last comment, women need to empower younger women. Whenever possible, and by all means.

5. A picture is worth more than a thousand words. We need to do more and talk less. In some circumstances though, saying few meaningful words can make all the difference. I bought them, I offered them, and meant them more than many other things i’ve said in my life: “Do it with passion, or not at all”

6. Gut feeling. I always thought it sounded so awful. On my journey, someone said it was the stomach’s brain at work. That doesn’t seem great either. It might be a form of intuition. By all means, when you are presented with an opportunity, and this intuition of yours tells you to take it, it is highly likely you won’t regret it. It might even make you feel more alive than ever.

7. Be kind, be mindful of those around you, care, love, but never let others make decisions for you. The decisions you make are yours and yours only.

8. I have been apart from some of my best friends for a long long time. I got the chance to meet some throughout this journey. It was like I never left. Like they never moved to other places all over the world. I am fascinated  by these types of relationships. We change , but our compatibility and connection never left. Instead of taking this for granted, I will try my best to keep them closer to me, in any way I can.

9. Freedom: to make decisions, to live, to try new things, to discover, to grow, to develop, to achieve, to do the things you want to do. It’s what we should never stop fighting for.

The list is to be continued, as I have even a longer trip waiting for me very soon.

Adeline's drafts, opinions, and experiences

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