I've been thinking some more on this Bosnia opportunity, in advance of meeting
Andy again tomorrow, and although I've not come to any kind of decision - and
in any case it wouldn't really be for me to decide anyway, ultimately - I am
getting a clearer picture of what I should do if they decide that they would
like me to take part.
The basic fact is that they would want me to share the driving of a 7-ton Mercedes
truck into Mostar in northern Bosnia. We would be travelling through Europe
more or less non-stop, I think, and be driving these great big things on what I
would consider to be the wrong side of the road - something I which I should
emphasise I have no experience whatsoever. Nevertheless, Andy says he got used
to his truck very quickly, once he'd worked out where all the gears etc were.
So it would be a completely new and unknown experience, filling me with about
as much fear as the destination itself.
We would be driving into what may not currently be a war-zone, but an area of
extremely high tension, where the different ethnic groups do not venture into
the wrong part of the city, or they can more or less guarantee not to make it
back. Bosnia is generally enjoying a fragile peace, and inside sources suggest
all-out war could break out again at any time. Even without war in progress,
there is still a lethal legacy of the past, with many areas - even within the
city - not yet cleared of mines. Mostar is a city of great contrasts; when
Andy last went, the first sight was of the rich Christian area, and he wondered
what they were doing there, but their final destination was the much poorer
Muslim area, where the buildings remain as burnt out and bomb-wrecked shells,
and the people eke out whatever existence they can.
So apart from the driving, by biggest fear would be of death, I suppose, if war
broke out again, someone didn't like the look of my face or couldn't identify
me for who I represented, or if I accidentally stepped or drove onto something
nasty. But then I have to consider the benefits of going to those we would be
serving. I am young, single, and have few responsibilities in this world; if
the worst was to happen, it would far better happen to me than someone with a
wife and children to support. So on balance, yes I think I would go. In a way
it would be a blessed relief if the truck hire company refused to insure me or
something, but that is a cop-out wish.
Sometimes we just have to live life a little bit on the edge; it's all too easy
just to sit back in your comfortable armchair and let others take the risks,
and I feel I've done that for too long now. If anyone else has any words of
wisdom to share with me on this, please do, but I'm feeling more and more that
I am fed up with my cosy but unexciting little existence.