A careless 10-day trip to exotic Bali which they were planning for a while and finally carried out in mid-March has turned into a nightmare for Strahinja and Srdjan, two medical students from Serbia. But, despite everything they went through while on this remote island at the time of coronavirus pandemic, they will always remember it by a man who gave them a shelter and a lifetime friendship – Bosnian ambassador in Jakarta.
The story became public after Suzana Paradjina-Skobo, Strahinja's mother, wrote a note on her Facebook profile, describing what her son and his friend experienced while on, what was supposed to be, an ordinary vacation.
“Besides enormous fears that fell upon the world these days, there is one much bigger fear when a family is not around you at such times, when someone yours is far far away and left behind, and you don't know when he's coming back. After my son Strahinja, a doctor to be, and his friend Srdjan, also a doctor to be, were stranded in Bali due to the situation caused by the virus, our agony started,” said the mother.
“Closed airports, hotels, stores, has brought them to almost a no-way-out situation. A feeling of immense panic, fear and weakness that only a parent can know was filling our days. In the darkness of uncertainty about evacuation flights, in constant contact with the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, we established a contact with the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Mehmed Halilovic, because of whom I am writing these lines,” she added.
After he was informed about the situation the two young men were found, Ambassador Halilovic invited Strahinja and Srdjan to be his guests until they solve the problem and can go back home.
The door that Bosnian ambassador opened to Strahinja and Srdjan will never close, not in their hearts nor in the hearts of his parents, said Strahinja's mother.
Speaking to N1, the ambassador said this was a humane decision meant to give relief to others.
“Crisis situations are a chance for all of us, regardless of jobs we do, to show the most humane in us and to treat others the way we wish the others treat us in difficult times,” said Halilovic.
Strahinja and Srdjan eventually managed to fly back to Belgrade via Paris this Thursday, thanks to the efforts of the Serbian Embassy. While Srdjan is the national of Serbia, Strahinja holds dual citizenship, Serbian and Bosnian.
What Bosnian ambassador in Jakarta did, was unbelievable, said one of them, and the friendship they made with him is for the rest of their lives.
“And it was amazing to talk to him about everything, indeed. Due to the nature of our profession, we don't really know much about life expect how to save it. We listened to his stories about societies, systems and one of the greatest lessons I will remember for life: the world is ruled by love and trust, not by money,” said Strahinja.
“When we learned there was a possibility to go back on the flights organised by the Republic of Serbia, I must admit I was a bit sad. I was sad because our meeting came to an end, but we are hoping to meet again,” he added.