Šemsudin Kalesija

“If I’d grown up elsewhere, I wouldn’t be the man I am.”

By the time Šemso was born, his life was already forever shaped by war. His father was killed fighting, leaving his then-pregnant mother to raise him alone in Kalesija. In spite of that, his trademark is his big smile. “I’m just one of those guys who is positive and optimistic, always spreading a smile and always happy to help, no matter in what way.” Though he describes himself as a chatterbox, he does mean what he says. He laughs with his whole body, sees the world through rose colored glasses, and finds no obligation too pressing to keep him from offering help to those in need. “All the credit goes to my mother who taught me, above anything else, to be a good man to everyone,” Šemso says. He’s not blind in his optimism though and is concerned about the political troubles facing both his city and country. “Whenever I feel sad, or if something doesn’t go according to plan, I take a walk to this spot overlooking Kalesija. There is always a beautiful sunset. In that light, this tiny town looks very big and I am filled up with positive energy again. This really is a wonderful place to live.” Šemso spends his time in the local cultural center with others from his generation dreaming up the changes to come – whether that be political reform or a new photo studio the town needs. “Both good and bad pass, so it’s really just a matter of getting the movement started. It’s time for the young people to take over this country.”

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