Arriving in Tuzla
Basically, everybody in Tuzla smokes. Everywhere. In the streets, in restaurants, and in bars. For people born and raised in Tuzla, the Bosnian industrial town where we start our journey, this may be no big deal. For the visitors from Berlin, it takes some getting used to.
Other things are more familiar. Tuzla is full of German cars, Sparkasse branches and dm stores. Even the currency seems familiar: Bosnia-Herzegovina still uses the “convertible mark”, a currency coupled to Germany’s former currency D-Mark. Back in the day, the exchange rate used to be 1:1; with today’s Euro the rate is 2:1. Another aspect that reminds us of Germany is how often people argue about politics. Especially the federal government’s inflated administrative structures make people angry.
Already on our very first day, we had a bizarre encounter while visiting a settlement together with three staff members from the “Center for social work Živinice”. Across from us, a man stood ranting about something – even though we couldn’t understand a word it became clear that he was enraged to see our small group wandering the area in disregard of his guidance. Our attendants were not even the slightest bit impressed by his demands and did not let the conversation turn against them. Eventually, the man had to leave without having achieved anything.
Photo: © FLMH