[continued from previous post]
After settling in into the new hotel, I’d left for the city centre. Before checking in earlier, I’d come across gypsy children. I was beyond taken aback cos they were scruffy and were pushing around bones (yes) in a baby pram. They’d ran to me, held my arm, and when I didn’t give them any money, they pulled and kissed my arm many times. I couldn’t shake off the scene, so I’d said so many prayers for Allah to protect me as I left the hotel, anxious that I’d meet the children again.
And then I saw these boys.
They’d just left the building beside my hotel, and seemed like they were looking at a map. As they walked towards me, I went forward and asked them the way to the city centre.
Adin (the boy in the middle) took one look at me and said, “You can come with us. We are going to city centre. Don’t worry. I am Bosniak.”
Heartened by his offer, I followed the boys to the tram station. On the way, we were assaulted by the gypsy children again, but this time they were more vicious. Adin kept making eye contact with me to keep moving forward and not relent. Perhaps angered, one of the girls took a rock and threw it at Adin. Another one grabbed my hijab and pulled it backwards, causing me to stagger back. Another girl pulled my bag and then Adin pulled it back, shouted at them to leave us alone and got me to walk fast away from them.
Needless to say, I was absolutely stunned.
Adin kept apologising for the incident and told me to get out of the suburbs, or to take the tram one stop away if I was alone. “This is not Bosnia. Please don’t think this is what Sarajevo is like.” Once we were on the tram, he continued to try to calm me down and then proudly shared Bosnia i Hezergovina’s history, and culture. This young boy (he’s 16!! Can you imagine?!) spoke with so much pride and love for his country, that I cannot help but feel likewise. “I stayed in UK for 6 years. But I came back with my family after the war, and I love Bosnia very much. I hope you will love it as well. If you need any help, you can call me!”
Oh I do love this place. I very much do. These boys were just another affirmation of how beautiful Bosniaks are. And truly an answer to my prayers.