Minela Bujak – Goražde: Persistence and poetry helped her to stand on her feet after seven years
Minela Bujak is 23 years old. Currently she is a student of computer engineering. She likes writing and enjoys sports. Most of her time she spends with paper and a pencil, because she finds it relaxing, and those words she puts on paper convey both everything that bothers her, but also all the good things, hopes and plans for the future. Minela spent long years in various hsopitals, because, after a traffic accident and complications during recovery she had lost the use of her limbs and writing helped her preserve her willingness to recover.
And that is exactly how so many poems had been written. I have 5,000, and a little over a year ago, there were 3,000, because that is how many I wrote while I was in the hospital. However, after I recovered and got back on my feet, I kept writing, but now these are happy poems. Before, all was like under a veil of sadness, only shades of grey pervaded the poems, but now, the colors are those of happiness.
How did someone who is so passionate about poetry choose to study computer engineering?
I finished high school, literally, from the hospital bed, because I was hit by a car on the last day of elementary school. And I had 11 surgeries, I could not move, I had lost the sense of my legs, it was fortunate that I had been a straight-A pupil, so they let me enroll into the high school without taking the entrance exam. I graduated from the comprehensive secondary shool. For me, the secondary school involved taking exams at the end, when I could I would leave the hospital and go to a couple of lessons and then back, I could not bear to stay longer.
When I graduated from high school, it was necessary to take a break, because of a nerve – a nerve was dead. I could do nothing but stay in bed, and that wasit. If someone moved me, that was all. In the end, I found it stupid to just stay at home, as I like to study. So I wrote seminar papers, looked around, but here in Goražde there were only two university programs available, and that is how I chose. Now I am doing quite well in my studies, I am in the senior year, and that is all.
Have you published your poems anywhere, perhaps a book, or…?
Well, at the moment I am looking for a publisher, because I would like to publish. It is my wish to selet at least some of those that tie me to the past, as well as some of those that came after my recovery, so the book should have two parts.
How long were you bed-ridden?
My recovery took all of seven years. For five years I could not walk at all. Then I started with a walker, a wheelchair, than crutches with the help of my parents, and then I gradually dropped the crutches, one after the other. And now it is a little over a year that I stand on my two feet.
It was quite indescribable when I made my first step. It felt like a baby learning to walk. I could not feel my legs, I did not know what it meant to feel your right leg. It felt like a hole in my side. It is hard to lay in bed and wath your peers, they are having a good time and enjoying themselves, and you cannot.
Then I all that sadness somehow put in words, on paper. One after another, and there were so many, I did not even count. Later, when I tried to sort the papers, there were too many. In the hospital, I always asked for the bed next to the window, because I stayed in the hospital for four years without getting out. Sometimes I would leave for a weekend, two days, and then back again on Sunday night. And you sit by the window and just look on, people come and go, but you are staying. And you start losing the will to live, to keep fighting. However, when you se Mom and Dad when they show up at 2:30 to fight for you, and that they are always laughing, and you know that they are hurting. Then I fought more andmore to restore them their mirth, because I had two other sisters who also suffered a lot because of me during those seven years.
When I managed to start walking, I figured, let me perfect one or two more steps, so I can surprise them. And that’s how it happened. Fojnica, all the time, in Sarajevo, I was in Koševo all the time, and then they would move me. I also caught a bacterial infection, but in general, Sarajevo, Zenica, Tuzla, I had been in hospitals everywhere, but it worked.
It was persistence that paid off. They say, exercise for half an hour. For me, it was exercise for 24 hours, rest for half. I was really persistent.
Now, when I have sensations restored in my legs, only one foot, half of it still troubles me, so I wore orthoses, and as for all the rest, it is alright now.
So, poetry was something that helped?
It was the best cure for everything. To avoid becoming depressed. When you give up and start thinking, „Ay, I don’t want to live any more,“ because doctors had been saying, „She has only little time left,“ because I was down to 18 kg. I also got infected with e.coli and, later, with helicobacterium in my stomac, followed by ileus… Well, so much had happened.
So, you keep writing poetry. And I also knitted those pendants, all kinds of handiwork, just to distract myself. Somehow, when I was knitting or writing, you forget the pain. When a doctor comes, you remember that you are in the hospital. And that is how it went. I wrote a poem for each of them, for each doctor – write a poem about each doctor.
Then, I would go home, but nothing seemed right. I did not have the feeling I was at home, everything seemed strange. When I got used to it, then my friends would come to see me, then you would see that they, too, love me, so this was another impetus „Come on, fight to get back on your feet!“ And I did.
What are your plans for the future?
For the moment, to graduate from the university, to try to publish the book, and, God willing, to find a job.
Is it your dream to stay in Goražde or would you wish to leave?
It all depends on what the fate has in store for me. Still, Goražde is a nice town, worth investing in and fighting to make it still more widely known, because it is home to so many talents.