Dalabor

Dalabor  

Bosnia

I remember I was selling vegetables. I would buy them and then resell them. I was just working for myself on the street, just selling certain things to make some money. I'm not going to call it the "black market," but stuff like that. That was just for a little while. But my normal day was just—you know we didn't have a lot of activities because we would really try and minimize being out of the house. Around my place we would just hang around and I was playing soccer like three times a week. We had one place where we would play inside. Sometimes we would have to stop that because the missiles would start coming again. We'd stop, go home, and then come back maybe two days later.

Sometimes I was outside when the missiles would come down. We could hear when the bombs were coming because we would hear a "POP," and we knew it was coming in twenty seconds. When I was walking on the street I would crouch down and cover my head with my hands. Sometimes it would hit a mile from me or maybe a half-mile. One time a bomb hit right in front of my window. I was living on the first floor of a building, and it hit right beside the building. It damaged all my windows, and the pieces went into the house and onto the furniture. I was sitting in front of the building at that point. There were a few stairs and I was sitting on them. I heard when they sent the bomb, and I walked into my house and laid down on the floor between two couches. When it hit it crashed all the windows. If I had decided not to go inside—if I said, "Ah I don't care, it won't hit here"—well it hit there. It was all smoke, I couldn't see for a couple minutes. I was lucky then.

It was not a nice feeling, and every time I heard the sound there was something in the pit of my stomach. Some people would lie down in the street. I would just crouch down, and then I'd hear the big explosion. Sometimes it would land really close to me—one, two, three hundred yards. We just got used to it. In Vermont if there was snow for twenty or thirty days you'd just get used to it—you don't care. It's the same feeling with the bombing.

Sometimes I feel that we really appreciate being here more than native Vermonters do because you don't have that feeling. You were born here and probably your grandfather was living this way, and your father and you will do it with your kids. You guys don't know what is the opposite way. That's why when I hear some people complaining about something—I'm good, compared to what I've been through ten or fifteen years ago. I just remember that, and it makes me feel good.

One time something happened—it was April 1993. We didn't have malls. We had a big building, and when you walked in there were two or three floors with stores all around. It's not like the mall where you walk in and everything is on one level. I was working in front of that store, and I had a little table. We had a lot of tables—they let us do that. There were a lot of people selling candies and stuff. You didn't have to have a store to do that. It was just to let people make some money. That was a really popular place. There were a lot of bars and cafes around—and bakeries and fast food. And one day, it was April 19th, I decided not to go that day to sell stuff. I didn't feel—I just said, "I'm going to take the day off today; I just don't want to go." That day nineteen people were killed in front of that store. It was a bomb, a missile. They sent it out and nineteen people died. It was a nice Spring day—short sleeves—everybody went out. That's what they were waiting for. That day if I had been there I would have been killed. That day—I don't know, something told me not to go. And what is bad about it is all three religions got killed. You know what I'm saying, all three religions. The bomb doesn't ask you, "What is you name?" It doesn't tell us what we are on our foreheads.