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How A Trip To Bosnia And Herzegovina Reawakened A Painful Truth About My Sierra Leonean Heritage

My mother would often say “Man proposes, God disposes.” I’ve often interpreted it to mean that we sometimes end up on a path that leads to an unexpected outcome. That was manifest when I embarked on a last-minute solo trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina in October of last year for my 32nd birthday.

It wasn’t my first choice destination, as I previously banked on flying out to either Rome, Barcelona or Vienna to catch the last days of summer abroad. But by some ‘chance’ thought, I remembered my work colleagues recommending Bosnia and Herzegovina and decided to give it a go. It seemed like a perfect fit for me. I would be two hours away from where I live in Istanbul, staying in a beautiful hotel that sat on the river Miljacka, surrounded by beautiful greenery, possibly lavishing over Bosnian coffee, while reading Chester Hime’s A Rage in Harlem.

It was even easier to fall in love with the country when I arrived in the old part of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital. The architectural hues of its Ottoman Islamic, Jewish and Catholic heritage, the primacy of its bronze-making culture and rich textiles stretched back centuries. I was even a few minutes walk away from the city hall, whose artifice was Moor-Andalusian inspired.