From War to Freedom
I was born in Prishtina, Kosovo, one of the geographic flashpoints of the Yugoslav Wars during the 1990s. As a child, I was not aware of why the war was happening, but I dreaded the atmosphere. I remember the war sirens many times interupting outdoor games and having to run inside quickly. Everyday we had to abandon the hopscotched pavement and the endless world of gaming possibilies that a ball brought to us. Soon friends from the neighborhood began to vanish without warning or explanation, and soon thereafter, we too abandoned our home. I began to understand cause and effect. The sirens had caused all of this.
Ball games, scraped knees, and sunburns grew dim and vanished in my neighbors basement where my tightly packed family was now hiding. We were there, with no electricity and a loud silence. The day turned into night, and the night turned into nights. On the sixth day of our hiding, an amplified “empty the house in five minutes” command endowed us with the term “refugee”. Since then we were fortunate to be sent to the United States, leaving behind other Albanian families who did not share the same fate.
Today I am shifting away from my childhood and applying for an American college. Everyday I am blessed and yet unfortunate to know that the bleak days of my past linger and haunt someone else's present. With my college degree in Psychology I hope to aid children in refugee camps with destressing resources. While I also continue to pursue my passion for volleyball, I am a firm believer that simple ball game in the midst of a refugee camp serve as a balm for the horrors that war can unleash.