The coronavirus began to spread and negatively impact people’s lives in the year 2020. We were frightened and unprepared for what the future held. We had to take care of our own needs as well as the lives of others who were close to us. I was constantly assisting and caring for my grandmother throughout the quarantine. She is a 70-year-old woman with health concerns who has undergone numerous operations that have left her body weak. It was more difficult for her to get herself supplies because she lives far from the city. I would visit her every three days while keeping my distance and wearing gloves and a protective mask. . In such moments, I realized that even though we were keeping our distance, we had never been closer. Yes, such times were difficult and it wasn’t easy to see your loved one in such a state while yet wanting to hug her. The coronovarius pandemic has put everyone to the test and shown just how far humanity can go.
-Una Alispahić, 17
2020. made the world stand still for a while, and I got an opportunity where everything changed – for the better!
Professionally, I am a nurse and I left this field a long time ago as I focused on what makes me happy – workshops, youth and learning through fun. Knowing that this ”Corona thing” will last and feeling useless at home, I joined the Red Cross in my hometown as a volunteer for COVID -19 social phone. I received incoming and outgoing calls from different social groups: elderly, poor, children, middle-aged people… A lot of the jobs were closed down, so many people lost their jobs. The social phone initially served as a way to help the elderly who were no longer able to leave their homes to go shopping and as a psychological aid, etc., but it quickly became a place where people went to request free meals, as many lost their jobs and were no longer able to feed their families. What I remember most was a call from a teacher who told me that two children in her class were starving because their father had lost his job in Slovenia and could not find another job or return to Bosnia because of the lockdown. These children were one of many with a similar fate at that time.
I also remember that the streets were empty during the day because of the lockdown. It seemed as if no one was alive. I only met other Red Cross volunteers or police officers on the streets, but even they were completely masked and unrecognizable. I remember the fear that spread faster than the virus. After all, the unknown is what people fear the most. It really put the humanity on test, in every way possible.
This volunteer work made me feel better emotionally and later financially. I was given the opportunity to work as a paid volunteer with the Red Cross for the next few months, so I could only benefit from this situation.
Volunteering has always had a huge impact on me and my perspective. It was always like giving back to the community that was there for me whenever I needed it.
I volunteered in May 2020, during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemics, as a volunteer of the Red Cross and “Mreža Mladih” organization. To be honest, it was a hard time for everyone because no one knew what we were dealing with, when is it going to end, will it affect us as volunteers etc. Primarily we were delivering groceries and other necessities to elder’s doors. We were also accepting donations and dividing them. My shift would usually last from 8 am to 4 pm.
One thing that I remember after coming home everyday is taking long showers because I didn’t want to be tested positive and also cleaning every door knob in the house after someone recently came in.
I’ve been a Red Cross volunteer for the past 4-5 years and would like to highlight the enormous influence it has had on my life.
I’d always known I wanted to work in medicine. After seeing my mother’s good impact on the lives of her patients, I decided to do the same. Because I was still in high school, I began with a simple step: I joined the Red Cross Society’s Youth Volunteers.
Our first assignments were straightforward: raise awareness, collect funds, and, of course, assist others. During this period, we would also educate students on first aid and begin some healthy competitions on the same theme.
Very shortly after the pandemic began, our volunteer group formed and developed projects to assist individuals during these trying times. Since a lot of elderly people werent able to go out and buy basic goods, medications etc. for themselves, we started doing it for them. We’d all get together soon after school and get to work. We would take calls until 3 p.m. and then go into action.
Education is also an important aspect of our volunteer activities. We have weekly lectures and talks where we learn about safety, communication, and how to assist others.
Most importantly, one of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering is the community that develops around you. Many of my friends volunteered alongside me. We helped each other as much as we helped others, and we all benefited from it. After these years, I was able to take the first big steps in my life by becoming a Red Cross Certified First Aid Instructor and enrolling at the Medical University of my dreams.
Svake godine nažalost tradicionalno u Hercegovini možemo vidjeti šumske požare koji su nekada izazvani namjerno, a nekada su za to krive vremenske nepogode. Prošle godine na području Jablanice uslijed vremenskih neprilika došlo je do požara na nepristupačnom terenu. Taj požar se zbog stabilnog, suhog i vremena sa visokim temperature proširio na dijelove planine Čvrsnice. Zbog nemogućnosti dogovora nadležnih političara, požar se nije sanirao na vrijeme dolaskom helikoptera, pa su u gašenju požara učestvovali građani i građanke Jablanice i drugih gradova Bosne i Hercegovine. U nastavku donosimo Vam kratki osvrt Seje Ivkovića, jednog od volontera koji je pomagao u gašenju navedenog požara.
“Požar na Čvrsnici je trebao ranije biti ugašen, odmah po samom nastanku. Da se reagovalo adekvatno i da je poslan helikopter Oružanih snaga problem bi se riješio odmah prvi dan. Nažalost zbog neodgovornosti nadležnih političara isti nije imao dozvolu poletiti. Zbog nepristupačnosti terena ljudi fizički nisu mogli da priđu požarištu i požar lokalizuju na vrijeme, tako da se taj požar nažalost proširio na druge dijelove Čvrsnice. Poznato nam je da Čvrsnica ima prirodne fenomene i zaštićene biljne endemske vrste, stoga smatram ovo velikom štetom. U tom trenutku mi kao građani smo pristupili gašenju požara. Imali smo Viber grupu od 100 volontera koje je koordinirala Civilna zaštita u Jablanici. 10 dana smo se mijenjali, stražarili, uspješno nosili sa širenjem vatre i spriječili dopiranje iste do obližnih naselja. Imali smo dva vala požara, jedan do prve kiše, nakon toga sušni period od 5 dana i na kraju period kiše koja je pogasila sve ostale manje požare. Na društvenim mrežama i medijima ste mogli vidjeti našu reakciju kada smo poslije prve kiše kolege i ja, jako umorni i gladni, dočekali pljusak koji nam je pomogao pri gašenju iako smo vatrenu liniju dobro održavali.
U tome periodu imali smo birokratske i političke probleme koji su dodatno usložnili borbu sa požarom zbog opreme koju smo trebali dobiti, ali su ti problem izazvali veliki inat kod ljudi. Veliki broj Jablaničana i drugih građana se pridružio i sinhrono sudjelovao u tome da se ugasi požar na Čvrsnici. Na svu sreću u tome se uspjelo. Akciji gašenja su pristupili Jablaničani i Jablaničanke, ali i građani iz cijele Bosne i Hercegovine. Svakodnevno su nam se javljali da li oni mogu da dođu i dolazili su da bi pripomogli gašenju. Nažalost, sve se to moglo ranije sanirati da smo imali potrebni helikopter. Helikopterski servis Republike Srpske nam je pomagao i u dobro dijelu pomogao u nekoliko navrata. Ali glavni motor su bili ljudi, njihova borbenost, njihovo srce koji su pomogli pri gašenju požara, iako je na kraju kiša isti u potpunosti ugasila. Zbog visokih temperature, jednostavno nismo mogli čitavu vatrenu liniju držati. Hvala Vam dobri ljudi i ostali koji ste na bilo koji način pripomogao gašenju požara. Čvrsnica nam je zahvalna!” – sa nama je podijelio svoje iskustvo Sejo Ivković, jedan od volontera koji je pripomogao gašenju požara.