We all were once children. Some of us still are.
And we all had dreams. Some came true, some we forgot about, and some we are still dreaming and expecting to happen. Or we’re working hard to achieve them.
Of course, this is not always easy. One should earn enough for a living, you know, for children’ education, new shoes or vacations. Each and every one of us has a thing or two that distract us from those bold goals we set when we were kids – to be pilots, doctors, firefighters, teachers… To fly to the moon. To make a summer vacation last for 3 months, they way it’s meant to be. To simply do what we love to do and be happy.Of course, that’s far from easy.
And if you live in Kosovo, it’s even harder.
Everything around you tells you that you should stop dreaming – poverty, politicians who are playing their game with your life in stake but for their own short-term and personal gain, life that is “neither here or there”, and above all – uncertainty. You’re waiting to receive some help or humanitarian aid, waiting for some of the numerous international organizations to hire you (because they are the only ones hiring), waiting for the whole situation to just finish already and your life to finally settle. You’re simply waiting.
But you want to believe! And you are hoping!
Because faith and hope are the main drivers and motivators of people to persist and fight in order to be able to experience sometimes the chance to do what they love doing, and there is no environment bad enough or the darkness that dark to kill this faith and hope in people.
Ramonda Serbica is a flower that perhaps describes the best what I am talking about – it’s a rare plant, found only in certain parts of Serbia and it’s very specific: even if it is completely dried, it miraculously comes back to life when watered. Some say that this special attribute helped it survive the ice age. This ability to return to life was discovered by the Russian botanist Pavel Černavski who had this plant placed in a herbarium back in 1928. And when he accidentally spilled some water on the herbarium, previously completely dried plant suddenly bloomed. Magical.That is why people never stop struggling, never stop trying to survive, and always believing and hoping that someone will appear and spill, accidentally or not, a drop of water in the direction of a forgotten flower archived in a herbarium long time ago. And when something happens by accident, maybe in the form of your brother’s friend, who accidentally discovers that, in all this darkness around, you’re creating beautiful origami models in all colors and shapes, and when this brother’s friend again by chance has something to do with “The Week of Japanese Culture” in Gracanica, you realize that this is your drop of water, the chance that something that waited patiently in the herbarium finally blossoms, be noticed and light up the whole surrounding with it’s beautiful glow.
Meet Mateja, my nephew.
He lives in Kosovska Mitrovica and a few days ago he had his first solo exhibition of origami models in Gracanica, where he also tried to demonstrate his skills and creativity in order to motivate and inspire a crowd of children to, regardless of the overall darkness around them, they still need to keep doing what they love doing and never give up.
By the way, Mateja is the cute little guy on the photo. He is 9 years old.
I am convinced that he is a drop of water for many kids in Kosovo.
Note: this is a translation of my text written in Serbian for 365lepihdana.rs (365 beautiful days), which is a “river of optimism” of people that strongly believe that, despite all the pessimism and criticism around us, we are still surrounded by so many wonderful things that we simply fail to articulate and notice. Therefore – 365 blog posts for 365 days this year, to remind us where we really are living.