The Life In The Bosnian Countryside
After a day driving around visiting nice places along the Una river with Redzo, we then drove back to Cazin village to take a rest. I plan not to drive anymore for a few days but to just stay in this beautiful countryside of Cazin. It feels a bit like a countryside in northern Scotland… reminding my old sweet memory when I was cycling around Scotland almost 3 years ago… when the raindrops hit my face while riding through the narrow Scottish roads, then the rainclouds left… giving ways to the sun to shine proudly, giving its light to brighten and give colours to the landscape, turning the whole scenery looks surreal… with rainbows… countless rainbows!
The life here, like any other small villages… is moving at a slower pace compared to life in busy cities. People here walk slower and they talk slower without rushing. Life isn’t dictated by how many tasks need to be completed by the end of the office hours… but its dictated by the weather and the position of the sun in the sky. They wake up and start going to the field with their herds or to nurture their fruits and vegetables when the sun appears in the eastern horizon giving its first light to illuminate the land. They keep working and finally take a break when the sun reaches the zenith… then back to work until the sun goes down slowly, changing its colour into reddish yellow… and head back to their homes when the sun reaches the western horizon… hiding behind those hills and the sound of azan (muslim call of prayers) dominates the air… vibrating the unseen particles in the air from the nearby mosque.
I tried to move at a slower phase than theirs… watching them closely… trying to study them… to learn something from them. After all, I believe there must be a reason why I cross path with these people. There must be a reason why god made me chose Bosnia as my destination, decided to rent a car and finally drive all the way here in the northern part of Bosnia. I personally believe wholeheartedly that everything happen for a reason, even the smallest thing that we usually don’t pay attention, like spilling a drink on our pants… or the falling of leaves… or even when we decided to choose coke over a pepsi on a shelf in a supermarket… the grand design and the masterplan of the creator of all. Sometimes we dont understand things when it happen during the present time… sometimes we only understand it once it become history… nothing more than a memory. Maybe I meet these people so that I can learn something… something useful that I can share with all. Maybe they will inspire me.. as well as me to them.
I keep looking at them while they’re talking to each other… talking in a strange language that I don’t understand, but I tried to learn them not from the language they speak… but from their facial expression and body language… which can unlock the secret of their emotion that came from their heart.. their batin… the unseen. Studying their faces, it seems that they have a lot of experiences in life, experiences learned from countless victories and defeats in life. Rebuilding life from defeats… is almost like starting a new business without any funds… from zero. Their only ingredients to build back life are courage, motivation, focus and hardwork. I started to find my motivation just by observing these countryside people. This is one thing I love about travelling… I’m always surrounded by people who speak strange languages that I never encounter before and from there, I started to get the ability to learn something from a totally different angle that I never came across before. Redzo told me that more people are leaving these places, away to different countries mainly in western Europe, since there are nothing to do here… not much available job here. I see that perhaps they dont have much money… but they have something very valuable here that most of us are looking for… quality time. Some people spend their entire life to earn a lot of money… so that one day they will have enough money to buy quality time before they depart this world. But these people in the countryside.. they already got it. They spend their daily life with their family… watching their kids grow up.
Living my life as a nomad, calling the road as my home and my teacher… I learned so many things even by observing kids. Kids taught me so many valuable things. They are the only creature I know that can be happy without any reason, they can smile and laugh without any reason… they really inspire me. Sometimes it made me think for hours… days and months.. to think how these kids can easily become happy. It is so difficult for me to find the answer… even though I myself was a kid once… but the memory left without any trace. Finally one moment in my life I found out some of the answer… that they are too young to have a past life unlike us adults who has been through many. They dont suffer the past life like a fail relationship or any major mistakes we made in the past like us. They don’t think about the future like how to earn more money so that we can drive a better car to impress others or to move to a bigger house or to get the latest smartphone in the market. They are totally living the now… the present time… and they’re good at it. Small kids.. they don’t only melt my heart by their look.. but they’re also one of my source of inspiration.
Besides observing these country people, with the help of my friend Redzo, I managed to interview a man who live here in the village. He grows raspberry here, living with his wife and daughter, a man who has many experiences and stories in his life. I was glad that he agreed to appear and talk in his language in front of my lens, sharing some of life stories living here in the countryside of Bosnia. Staying a few days here in Cazin might be the best experience for me so far since I’m in this country. I realized, usually the best experience while travelling is not when you are in tourist spots… but in some rural place where you meet a complete stranger, learning how to pronounce each other’s name, and finally becoming brothers just from one handshake. After a few days, it is finally time to say good bye to each other, I need to move forward, to drive back to Sarajevo to return the car since the clock is ticking and the day I should fly crossing back into the realm of Asia is getting nearer. I felt quite sad when leaving this village, Redzo and his parents kept watching me driving slowly out of their house and finally away from the street, probably they’re praying for my safety on the road in their heart. Me too while igniting the engine of the car, praying silently inside my heart for these people who has been kind to me, praying for them to have a happy life, for their flocks to grow larger, for their fruits and vegetables to grow fresh and delicious, and for their hearts filled with wonderful thoughts and the smiles grow more noticeable in their faces. I then changed the gear of the car, pushing it faster and faster leaving this beautiful countryside of Cazin…