In the last month or so Tuzla has been inundated with foreigners. In a car park the other day, I had a quick look around and realised that of the 15 or so cars parked under the trees, only one had a Bosnian licence plate. The rest were from Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Sweden and the like.
These are not your normal holidaymakers. Love Tuzla as I do, I'd never call it a general holiday destination. You would only really come here if you have a reason. No, by and large these people are the diaspora, those who left Bosnia and now come 'home' once a year, usually during the ever so nice summer months. They come back for a holiday, to see family and friends, gorge themselves on the Bosnian specialities, hold barbecue after barbecue, sun themselves at the lake and generally have a fine old time.
Those who live here full time view them with mixed feelings. Many people grumble that they only come back to show off their big fancy cars and how much money they have. They definitely bring with them a holiday vibe and race around doing things they probably wouldn't do at home (stop racing about on your scooter without your helmet young man, believe it or not, there are laws here, and they don't include behaving like an idiot). But some of the resident Bosnians are jealous. Jealous of the money the diaspora appear to have, the lifestyle that they appear to represent. The diaspora certainly bring money with them; one village I know is hoping to rebuild their mosque based on donations from the diaspora returning this summer.
Irrespective of any jealous moments, everyone is delighted to see family again, and it is heart warming to see the grandmothers thrilled to be playing with their grandchildren, adult brothers and sisters hanging out together over a coffee or three. But their delight is tempered with a tinge of regret, a recognition, indeed acknowledgement that this level of displacement in a society is a sad reflection of the country's recent history.