Gathering Grounds highlights the experiences of women displaced by the political confrontations in former Yugoslavia (1991-2001) by connecting over questions about coffee making and drinking. This website is a gathering space for those displaced by the conflicts to share their stories. You will find all the information you need to submit your story here.
Ana Croegaert created the project as a response to women refugees’ sadness that “No one asks us about our lives before the war,” and the younger generation’s desire to learn about their parents’ worlds. Big thanks go to Dijana Hodžić, Memo Nuhbegović, Adela Sajdel-Cerić, Dženita Vilić, and Snežana Žabić.
When I asked women about their experiences with being forced to leave their homes and relocate to a different country, they consistently expressed sadness that:
“No one asks us about our lives before the war.” In particular, women expressed frustration that people did not ask about their working lives: What kind of jobs did they have? Where did they work? What were women’s homes like, and what sort of work did they do there? What were their favorite products, and where did they like to shop? Younger women, on the other hand, wanted their parents to talk about their experiences during the war and as refugees in the United States. But many adult women were not comfortable talking about these painful memories.
By focusing interviews on people’s social interactions through coffee objects and practices, women are able to open up to the younger generations about their lives before the war, including the good times along with the bad.