My parents named me Aisa – meaning “a long comfortable life,” and my life was indeed good until, shortly after my fifth birthday, I witnessed my father die a sudden and unexpected death. That changed everything. There was no pension, no source of income except for the few acres we farmed.
I am finishing my memoir Light in Darkness, the story of how my Light illuminated a family’s journey and a part of the journey of my beloved Bosnian people.
The war in my country pushed me from my homeland and on September 29th, 1995, with my teenage son, I landed in the airport in Dayton, Ohio. Two journalists from the Dayton Daily News were waiting with my husband and daughter for us and next day in the newspaper appeared our picture and the article “Bosnian Family Finally Whole after 4 Years of War.”
In America at the age of 45 I found myself separated from my country, cousins, friends, my home and even all of my knowledge. I was reduced to the level of a toddler. I had taught my students back in Bosnia that knowledge is permanent wealth, something that you cannot lose, embroidered in your very being. It isn’t true. Refugees lose even their knowledge. If one cannot speak, or if incoherent sounds reach an ear, one is defined as deaf and dumb. How then, can knowledge be expressed?
My true passion is teaching and it always will be. I studied in Dayton, Ohio and became special education teacher 2001. I am very happy to teach students with special needs because of my experience I am able to relate to them and see the world from their perspective. A journalist wrote the news cover story “Refugees No More,” about me, my family and two other Bosnians published June 22nd, 2005 in the City Beat.
My Bosnian’s fellows invited me to Saint Louise On September 1st, 2007 to give a speech for the Bosnian president, Mr. Komsic and his delegation, when they came to visit. I started my speech with the sentence, “The world has big and rich countries, but in our hearts our Bosnia is the biggest and richest among them.” Many Bosnians cried.
I am chairperson in Bosnian Community in Cincinnati. Every two weeks we have our gatherings where we share our food and talk in our language about our struggles, accomplishments, our goals, and news from homeland. We also pray together and ask God to grant us good and prosper life, spread peace on the Earth, help all people, especially those who left their homes.
In August 2010 with enormous help and my hard work I earned Master degree in Art of teaching. That was one more drop in glass full of wishes to write a book about my life. In the beginning of November same year I joined the writing club on Hamilton Ave where every Monday five of us shared our stories, poems, and essays and been inspired to write more and better next week. In middle of July of 2012 my story “My Last Teaching Day” has been published in http://www.spiritofbosnia.org. In the beginning of September the same year my story “The School Bus Driver” won the first place in the contest: Voice from Far Away.
I am an American citizen now, and proud to be a part of this country that has opened the gate of opportunity to my family. But a part of my heart will always be in Bosnia.
I have written Light in Darkness so that people may come to know my people, so that they never forget what can happen to a people, any people, and so that, whatever their faith, they realize that a wise, just and merciful God is always with them.