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Power of One

09 December

If you know me you’ll know that I have the odd rant and I do have strong opinions but I’m not the marching – placard welding demonstrating sort. Even after all this time (20 years) I wonder what made me do what I did.
I went with 33 other women with a group called “Through Heart to Peace”Power of one to Sarajevo in 1995 during the fighting – Because I had to. You may already have heard me tell the story so apologies if you have.
Three multi-faith women put the call out for the Women of the World to attend a conference in Sarajevo. When someone asked if I would go I said yes. I didn’t ask how we would get there (which was just as well) I just knew that this was completely imperative that I just went.
It was a crazy trip – We travelled by bus from Zagreb up the coast to Medjugorje, visited bombed out Mostar and waited to decide if it was safe to go onwards. In Mostar we were able to walk around the bombed out town because NATO troops had taken charge. I remember meeting a group of teenage girls who were celebrating their friends birthday – they were happy to have their photo taken laughing together with the shell of their school behind them.
In a small town that we stayed in over night we were many hours sitting in the square waiting and some of the girls had face paints that entertained the kids. One boy wanted my baseball hat so badly I took him to the shop and bought him the only one they had left. Later he dragged his Mum & Grandfather into the meeting room to take me home with them to stay at their house and gave me their own bed. I know it’s silly but I cried about that. By the way – these people were Muslim refugees who had fled the carnage.
The next stage we had to wait in a school playground for hours to see if the bus that would take us to the next stage would come. The local Muslims brought us tea, water and cakes on trays to where we sat.
Quite a number of our group decided to leave and go back at this point because we had heard that there had been attacks on Nato troops and that it was deemed unsafe for us to continue.
Call me stubborn or stupid but I knew that I had to keep going. That night we descended into what could only be termed as hell. There was only one way into Sarajevo and that was to walk down the ski slopes on Mount Igman and then travel through the tunnel that went under the airport into the city. And I didn’t even have any boots, I borrowed some from a girl that didn’t want to go. That trip in pitch black holding onto someones hand for dear life heading toward two blinking red lights (the back of a car) was possibly the most frightening thing I have done (except for coming back up the mountain in broad daylight).Then there was trenches that we walked through watching bullets whiz overhead before defending into the 1 mile tunnel where you could not lift your head without getting knocked out!
At the other end we were taken to yet another school and waited to be taken to host families. My lady took 4 of us to her home. There was no electricity or running water – water had to be collected at the very dangerous stand pipes (snipers). Our host gave us a talk about snipers and how to cross streets and walk near buildings. The hospital was bombed, the hotels were bombed there wasn’t much that wasn’t and one night we watched a house across the road get hit by bombs!
We attended the conference – we were from USA, Holland, UK, Germany, Croatia, Serbia, France, Sarajevo. Everyone had a story, but one elderly lady had brought medical supplies and money because she had been a hidden child Jew in WW2 and wanted to pay it forward. Did we do any good – I don’t know – I do know that I prayed, I brought in the light – the Angels and did everything I could think of energetically! I signed our letter to the World Leaders and I do know that as we were leaving NATO announced that they were moving in.
We were only there for 4 days – I knew I could leave and return to my warm bed. We left everything we could behind, batteries, first aid, torches, even make up and soap!
Coming out we were challenged – the bombed the tunnel at the same time we should have been in there. We were late because of one girl who was late getting to the bus – she saved our lives!
They did manage to hit the bus we travelled on once we got back up Mount Igman – a shell broke all the windows and damaged the structure, we had to run and hope we didn’t stand on a land mine so the bus could get further down and out of range before we could get back on! The rest of the journey was easy and apart from being tired, dirty and emotional it was over for us.
Not for the people we met though, the Dr’s, the Teachers, The lawyers and all those wonderful, beautiful people we met at every point. Ethnic cleansing, rape and God only knows what else kept happening, so pointless.
And what for? Another politician whipping up hate and hysteria and before you know it you’ve got neighbours fighting each other.
There’s a lot more to this story – I’m only giving you the bare bones but I want to say THINK ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD – stay in your heart, keep the light burning and stay bright! We can make a difference – we do make a difference, every day! It’s that magnificent POWER OF ONE! IT WORKS.

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