Bosnia is not the first place that springs to mind when organising a youth trip. However, we were presented with a great plan and the young people were interested in visiting an unusual place. Although an strange destination it turned out to be a place of great beauty, with hiking and other activities on the agenda the excitement began to build and remained throughout making our adventure one to remember!
We met at the Travelodge the night before we left for Bosnia and were able to get the ice broken quickly. This was an amazing and inspirational group of young people who completely threw themselves into everything asked of them from day one. Hiking, sharing stories, cooking, learning other cultures and many more!
The young people from the UK were asked to talk about their visual impairments and what it means to them in their daily lives. The group from Sardinia and Bosnia (sighted) were in awe and visibly moved by the stories. During the course of the week, the sighted young people grew to learn how to support our visually impaired youths in a natural and inclusive way. By the last day, everyone was great friends and I am sure we will see some permanent long term friendships blossom. We may even get a VICTA wedding!
The day of the trek was tough but great fun. Each person took turns to support another person and we mixed people up throughout the day. Ed, one of our attendees who is totally blind, said:
“The best thing about the day was getting the chance to chat to so many of the other people and find those that you wanted to spend more time with.”
A meal of hearty soup and rolls was cooked over an open fire by the river. At the end of a long tiring hike this was much needed!
The UK young people learnt Italian and Bosnian phrases and shared some typical British phrases in return. At another session, everyone worked together to produce a three course ‘healthy meal’ which was eaten for lunch. We also had a session on blind cricket presented by one of our young people followed by a great game in the streets of Kljuc joined in by the youngsters of the town.
A trip to the local mosque was part of another day and everyone enjoyed meeting the Amman and hearing about the different religions.
Saying goodbye was hard, there were many tears shed and lots of promises to keep in touch. The participants and the organisers from all countries were a pleasure to work with and I look forward to meeting with them all again one day.