The playroom is the heart of SOS Social Centre Sarajevo. It is packed with fearless children aged three to six. Well, almost fearless. Once, when five-year-old Kemal woke up from a nightmare, the children and their teacher sat down to talk about what fear is and how to deal with it.
"I'm a pretty tough boy, but I fear God," started four-year-old Adnan-Din.
"Well, if you listen to your parents and do good things you don't have to fear God," said the teacher.
"I only get scared when monsters come. Nothing else really," exclaimed six-year-old Mirza.
"Monsters exist only in fairy tales and movies, not in real life," smiled the teacher. "You don't have to fear them."
"I'm scared of the wolf. Fear has the shape of a wolf," Tarik said.
"Wolves are scary, but they are wild animals who live in the forests. If you go there, always stay with your parents," stressed the teacher.
"Because if you wander away, pigs and wolves sneak up and they can eat you," added Vedad.
"Well, bores are wild animals, not pigs. But don't go into the pig stalls, either," said the teacher.
"When winter comes and I call someone on the phone. Then this person comes and he brings with him a big frog. I am so scared of that frog," explained six-year-old Dario.
"Hmmm," the teacher was puzzled. "I'm sure there are no frogs big enough to eat a person."
"I am scared of witches," said four-year-old Ada. "And of ghosts."
"These are also not real and exist only in fairy tales and movies," the teacher said with a soothing voice.
"I am scared of crocodiles and venomous snakes. But the crocodile can swallow the snake," five-year-old Tarik snapped his hands imitating crocodile jaws.
"There are no crocodiles in our country, but there are snakes. So keep your distance and be careful," said the teacher.
"I'm scared of wars," said five-year-old Emir.
"Wars are terrible, children," said the teacher, witness of the Bosnian war horrors herself. "I, your parents and all other grown-ups in the world must make sure that none of you ever lives through a war. When you become adults, you have to do the same for your children and all other children in the world."
"Well, I'm scared of the snow," six-year-old Dino didn't want to be left out of the fear-talk.
The teacher was now really puzzled and asked him why.
"Because last winter when there was so much snow, I slipped and fell on my bum," explained Dino to the now smiling teacher who pinched him gently on the cheek and gave him a hug.