by Shaniqua Benjamin

I didn't know what to expect when coming to Bosnia, but I knew I was excited about working with other young people.  In spite of the intense heat, which I'm not used to because of my Croydon upbringing, it's been a special experience so far.

Yesterday, I enjoyed my first full day, getting used to my surroundings and trying to overcome my shyness.  I got a good workout from the long walk up to Guber, I interacted with some beautiful people and I danced the night away.  It was fun teaching everyone the 'Candy', which is definitely one of my favourite dances.

What has been so special about this trip so far is that it's allowed me to really open up.  I shared some insight into my self harm yesterday and today I spoke about my insecurities and fear of letting people in.  Being able to share is refreshing for me and I hope that it also gives others an insight into who I am.

However, what I've liked best so far is taking part in Amy's poetry/spoken word workshop, as it encompassed my love of writing and also allowed me to get to connect with others.  It was great hearing from both Izzy and Julie, and I was incredibly moved by one of Julie's poems, as she really opened up to us.  As Amy said, "The power of words is really important." 

I agree that the power of words is incredibly important and I realised that I actually can write poetry, so I thought I'd share one of my poems with you, titled 'This is What Makes Me Happy'.  I hope you enjoy reading.


This is What Makes Me Happy

The question of what makes us happy,

Can be answered in different ways.

Each of us is unique,

And what makes me happy may not be the same for you.


I'm happy when I'm curled up reading a book,

Although I'm not that impressed when it's boring,

As that's far from a good look.

Reading has made m happy since I was a little girl,

Expanding my imagination and transporting me to new worlds.


That love of reading turned into writing,

Which is definitely my first love.

Returning to my dream of a career in writing, after losing my way,

Definitely makes me happy, as I'm doing what's right for me again.


Although it can break my heart when my team loses,

Watching basketball puts the biggest smile on my face.

The athleticism, hype, and skill of each play,

Brings a sense of enjoyment and keeps bad feelings at bay.


Listening to music, dancing, and walking on a sunny day,

Also brings the happiness I desperately crave,

But nothing makes me happier,

Than being around the people I love and making new friends.

Being around people having jokes and a good time,

Brings joy into my life time after time.


These things not only make me happy, but they set my soul on fire.

They stop me from going crazy, and being mentally tired.

I can struggle with being happy,

Because of fear, rejection and feelings of loneliness,

But I look forward to the day when my Jesus comes,

Because He never loves me any less.

All in all, God is the true sense of my happiness,

Because He's my King and I'm His princess.