When I first met Rahima and Vejsil Čomor I was overwhelmed by gentleness and kindness I experienced in their presence.
I just arrived in the village of Lukomir after a long and bumpy ride over the mountain roads and was immediately ushered into their simple stone house with warm smiles and friendly greetings that left no room to saying no. Their welcome made me feel like I was a family member or at least a long term family friend they haven’t seen in a long while.
Water for coffee was immediately placed on the stove (without a question because no one ever says no to coffee in Bosnia) and I was given an old fashioned manual coffee grinder to participate in the ritual.
While I’m grinding away gentle Rahima tells me a bit about her life. She and her husband Vejsil have six children and at least twice as many grandchildren. They have always lived a simple and hard working life that the mountains demand. Because of her age and some pains she can’t take care of the livestock any more, but Rahima is never idle. Day chores of cooking, cleaning and knitting fill out her days. ‘I’ve always done that. It’s who I am’ – Rahima says with a smile.
The smell of freshly ground coffee is now replaced by the smell of freshly baked bread that she takes out from the wood-fired oven and places before us. I immediately feel hungry. She breaks the hot bread with her wrinkled hands and places it on the table next to ‘topa’ – a simple traditional dish made from various dairy products melted together and served hot (yummy). My friend and I dig in with great enthusiasm and she goes back to her knitting to give us a chance to enjoy our food fully. We certainly do :).
After finishing the meal (and really applying all my willpower NOT to lick the plate) she continues her story. She and Vejsil are equals and always have been. Everyone has their role in the family and the household, but big decisions are made together and respecting each other’s opinions. ‘It is not easy living up here…we don’t have time to waste our energy on stupid things. We work together. We get everything done together. It’s the only way to survive.”
Finally, she tells me about her creative side (not that she calls it that) and how in the recent years it represents the only source of income for them. ‘I’ve knitted since as long as I can remember. I make woolen socks with traditional patterns for us and recently to sell as souvenirs. They are irreplaceable during winter months, but they also keep your feet cool during summer. This is a part of our tradition and I simply love doing it.’