By Hana.K Frankston High School

My grandmother is an amazing woman and an inspirational person to me. Her name is Anka Kurbalija.

She is 73 years old but she still cleans the house like it’s no big deal. She still walks just for pleasure, not because she has to. She always gives me her words of wisdom that I listen to over and over again. She is the same hard working woman that she was 50 years ago.

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She told me a story about her life during the war that I was really inspired by it and I wanted to share that story with you. My grandmother is not from Australia. She has been living in Europe her whole life. She was born in Croatia but then moved to Bosnia in the town of Banja Luka.

My grandmother started working at the age of 18, she worked in a hospital as a nurse. Her job was to work with the children in the hospital. Then when my grandmother was 35, she went to university and got her degree as a specialised nurse. What she specialised in was supervising the hospital and organising the beds that the children would stay in. After a while my grandmother set off for Libya with my grandfather.

Once four years passed, they returned from Libya due to the fact that my grandfather started having trouble with his heart again. When the war started in 1992, a lot of people either fled because of fright or went to fight. My grandmother did not leave Banja Luka.

This war went on from 1992 to 1995 and during that time my grandma worked in the hospital with the children there. She remembers seeing some people come into hospital with injuries such as broken arms and legs. Then sadly, in 1999 my grandfather died of a heart attack. When he died, my grandmother stopped working and she hasn’t worked since. She still is a very wise woman and me learning about this just shows me how strong and brave she was. Even though she has had ups and downs in her life, she has always stayed optimistic of the future and has always had a smile on her face through those rough times. She really inspired me to work hard and never give up. This is my grandmother. Anka Kurbalija.