It seems like every time I turn on the news a new country is rioting. When I was first nominated for the Peace Corps, I was nominated to serve in North Africa and the Middle East. I deduced that I would probably serve in Morocco because that is the only country in that region with a Business Development program. Thankfully, I did not get invited there because they have joined the party and started rioting.
It turns out that Albania is not immune to this frenzy. Last Friday tens of thousands of protesters marched through the capitol of Albania, Tirana, demanding that the government step down. They dispute the 2009 elections that put the Democratic Party in power and are outraged at video of Prime Minister Sali Barisha discussing a bribe with a government contractor. The protests on Feb 17 were preceded by protests last month that left 5 people dead. In our staging e-mail, the Peace Corps Albania maintains that we are on track for a March 14th departure and that they are closely monitoring the situation.
The Peace Corps has been active in Albania since 1992 but had to pull out in 1997 because the country collapsed under a pyramid scheme. They returned in 2003 and have been active since. In 1997, when the banking system failed under the pyramid schemes violent protests erupted throughout the country. So far it appears that all parties are taking steps to avoid such an outburst but the Peace Corps has restricted volunteer travel through the capitol while they are protesting. The protesters in Albania are also not trying to overthrow the current government but rather their goal is to move up the 2013 elections in light of the corruption tape. It would probably be exciting to live in a country going through such drastic changes but it could also be chaotic and dangerous. For the latter reason, I hope they get everything worked out before I get over there.
A: Riot! by Paramore