Sarajevo 2000


Rob Williams Rev1FrontHealing Hands Network was formed in 1996 to send volunteer natural medicine therapists to Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The Statistics of War

In a statement to the UN, it was estimated that during The Balkans War, a total of 200,000 people died including 12,000 children. 50,000 women are believed to have been raped and 2.2 million people were forced to flee their homes.

Sarajevo had been encircled by 13,000 troops in a siege that lasted from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996. More than 9,500 people died there during the conflict, including more than 5,000 civilians. The number of wounded exceeded 13,000.

The City in 2000

In the summer of 2000, I volunteered with Healing Hands Network and fund raised for my fare and the charity’s expenses. It was to be a life changing experience.

The city of Sarajevo was still bearing the scars of war. Numerous buildings were pockmarked by shelling, and a sea of shimmering white headstones lined the surrounding hillsides.

I soon learned that landmines littered the countryside, and it was incredibly dangerous to go walking in open areas.

Despite its outward appearance, Sarajevo held the most beautiful energy. It felt like angels or other heavenly beings embraced the city and its people.

The Clinic

The charity’s clinic in central Sarajevo, contained several treatment rooms, a sitting room cum office, a small kitchen for cooking plus accommodation for their volunteer therapists.

Our clients spoke little English so we relied on the skills of an interpreter to discuss each person’s medical history. We never questioned them on their ethnicity or religion; each and every person was treated equally.

I practised spiritual healing also known as the laying on of hands, although I was also qualified in reflexology, aromatherapy, nutrition…

The gratitude of the Bosnian people was overwhelming. Every day, they brought small gifts of food to our clinic, and I for one felt incredibly humbled.

Outreach Visits

One day a week we journeyed by tram or bus to outlying areas, to visit those who could not travel. On our first outreach visit, we climbed a long flight of stairs in a battle scarred block of flats, to reach an elderly man who was both paralysed and housebound. His eyes shone brightly and I sensed a very special energy around him. Despite his challenging circumstances, I believe he had found some form of inner peace or perhaps enlightenment.

However, many others remained extremely traumatised.

I felt incredibly tearful on leaving Sarajevo, and I vowed to volunteer again the following year.

A Lasting Impression

Sadly, my health deteriorated and I was unable to return, but I often think of the brave people that I met in 2000.

Man’s inhumanity to man still continues; I wonder will we ever learn?

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.


  1. Thank you this amazing story. I was born in Sarajevo in 1990, but left before I could experience the war, thank God.
    I grew up in the Netherlands and in all ways seem Dutch.
    I didn’t go back often, but when I do I get a warm feeling inside. People there are very kind, the country is beautiful and the food is tasty. It makes me realize, a part of me definitely still feel Bosnian 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful Bridget and you have written so well. Loved your superb post. So many places in the world are today like this and people are suffering in millions and there are so many good volunteers like you and others who do so much for them. Great, thanks for the wonderful share.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this memory with us and giving detailed information about the deaths, casualties, and rapes we need to know about the suffering for they are not just another lot of people. They had homes and families and lives. I am so glad you went with your healing skills there to help the people. Sarajavo must be own of those sacred places on Earth. No matter what evil is inflicted on it, the Divine Energy from the votices within the country is so strong it cleans the energy of the country , places and towns. The energy maintains a feeling of peace that is so ingrained into this sacred part of the Earth. The old man probably knew he could draw on this beautiful energy to give him peace. Bless you Bridged.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brigid, I’m so touched by your care and love to the people of this besieged city who suffered so much. You were one brave lady to go in and I can only imagine how happy the citizens were for your arrival. I followed the war there very closely, read a lot of books about it and one story in particular stayed with me. With lifesaving medications running short, a local radio station would broadcast who needed What and the younger people, dodging snipers would run to get medicine from one household, to give to another….traversing the dangerous city in a daily basis. Everyone pulled together and an impossible situation became liveable…barely.

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  5. What you did, what you gave is priceless. What those people suffered is unthinkable. The gifts they brought to the clinic boundlessly beautiful. As you know, I believe so strongly that love really IS the answer if we let it be. The love that flows from your words on the page prove that to me again. As to learning – the black heart of greed and the ability of foolish humans to continue to fruitlessly battle boggles me …. If only, if only, if only. Perhaps one day. I continue to hope.

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  6. We rarely hear of the compassionate actions of ordinary people who donate their time and skills to helping people in conflict, mostly we hear about the big organisations. Thank you for what you did and for bringing this awful war back into focus. Sadly, conflicts and suffering spring up elsewhere and the previous ones sink into the background when the emergency has calmed, even though people continue to hurt and shortages abound. It is a good thing there are people like you in this world that seems bent on self-destruction. Many people must owe their futures to your presence. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow Brigid, wonderfully touching. Wat you did was incredible (even through I know you did not do it for praise). When you consider that war and how people who had been neighbours forever turned on each other over perceived cultural and religious differences. Differences surely smaller than their shared commonalities. It does make you wonder as you so rightly said. Will we ever learn?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for all you did in support of those folks in a very dark time in their nation’s history. The courage of ordinary people, performing extraordinary tasks in the name of love. That should be celebrated. Thanks for sharing your story here, Brigid, you have my utmost respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brigid, this is such a wonderful testament to the resilience of the human spirit. I just finished reading about this trip in your book, and am so touched by the stories of the people there and the way you volunteered your services to care for them. You’re an amazing woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. All war is brutal and terrible, but that one seemed especially horrifying because it was neighbor against neighbor. The statistics are heartbreaking and I’m not surprised the trauma lingers. You’re an angel to have gone there and helped. What a blessing to the people there.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your words have touched my heart, my brother served as a Canadian peacekeeper there and came back (as so many did) a changed man, I think when people witness such horror, it tears away their innocence…thank goodness you were able to share your healing energy with the people who needed it most…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I see the effects of neglect and poverty around me every day, Brigid. Greed and corruption tear away any hope of upliftment for people and it is a great tragedy. It ultimately often leads to conflict and social discord which makes the whole situation much worse. You are a very brave lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a lovely post Brigid – Sadness of the futility of war and the terrible loss of life and yet the wonderful side of humanity shines through. The image of the angels holding the city is beautiful. Thank you!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello Brigid,
    I loved reading about your volunteer work in your post.
    What an honourable thing to be able to make those dear people feel like someone cared about them.
    Thank you for this lovely reminder of how to share goodness. The organisation sounds wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

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