Story of Amra

Bosnia & Herzegovina

rethinking_refugees

▫️a m r a▫️ I have very fond and happy memories of my childhood before the war. We played in the streets with other kids, we would go up to the mountains to visit my grandparents wherein we picked wild mushrooms and blueberries and slept in the cottages with open fires – it was magical! But all of that changed when war broke out. People from the nearby villages started arriving to our village and told us stories of their houses and farms being burned down and they had had to flee. After that, we started to sleep in our clothes, so we would always be ready to run. One night, our neighbour shouted “They’re coming! They’re coming! Get up we have to go!”. I remember it being so cold and wet. We took only what we could carry with us and the clothes we were sleeping in. We fled the village with my aunt and cousins. I was with my aunt in Tarčin seperated from my parents and I wished I could dig a tunnel to Sarajevo to see my mum and dad. I had no idea if they were alive or dead or even what was happening to them. Finally, we made it to my parent’s house in Sarajevo. At first I couldn’t recognise my mum, dad or sister and I just remember we cried a lot when we were reunited. Living in occupied Sarajevo was very hard. We had no electricity or running water. I couldn’t go to school because it was too dangerous. Children were killed just walking to school. My aunt was standing in line for bread and a grenade fell and killed her. That was the first time I had experienced direct loss, it was devastating because she was like a second mother to me. We lost a lot of family in the war. We only recently found my grandfather and uncle’s remains: we didn’t know how or where they were killed and we still haven’t got justice for their deaths over 20 years later. My immediate family and I are in the UK. So many survivors suffered with trauma and those of us who are no longer in Bosnia now have to battle with the issue of identity because where do we belong?

Story of Amra