We haven’t had internet all week because someone knocked over a tower and it takes a while for anything to get repaired. I wrote the following post on 4/14/2011.
Last weekend we took a short trip out to Librazhd. We met up with some other volunteers and a local who spoke internet and was familiar with the Peace Corps. After dinner he led us through the city to the basement of an apartment building where a local artist kept a studio. I don’t remember the guys name but his website is stoneslave.com. The most inspiring piece of work that he showed us was a mosaic that he is currently working on finishing. By the time it is finished he will have spent 6 years of his life and given up at least two teeth! Dental hygiene is very poor here so over the course of this project he has contributed two of his own teeth to the mosaic. The subject of the mosaic is a soccer player for Chelsea. He told us through our translator that he choose to make a mosaic of a Chelsea soccer player because in Albanian the word for key is celas and that the name of the team meant key to the heart. The translation wasn’t perfect so I may be quoting him wrong. Regardless his paitings and sculptures were breath taking.
We left the city early in the evening because a political rally was getting under way in the center of the city. I have been to one political rally in Nashville but that didn’t match the fervor of the people in Librazhd. Busloads of people were shuttled through the streets waving political and Albanian flags. There were even a couple American flags thrown in for good measure. We didn’t stick around because it is hard to travel at night and as Peace Corps volunteers we try to stay out of local politics.
Yesterday, we went on a hike up to the Vodafone tower near Pajove. It took us a couple hours but we had great view of the valley. At the top we found an abandoned bunker that was built in 1978. We were able to slide into the half buried opening and look around. There was not much to see but we did manage to disturb a couple of bats. It was still really neat to be inside such a bizarre part of Albania’s history.
Next week I turn 23! I talked to my host family today and they are going to show me how to kill and prepare a chicken! I also committed to cooking dinner for my host family and a couple of the other volunteers that live in Pajove. I am looking forward to cooking for my family because they have done so much for me so far.
I am sure that more has happened since the internet went out but I believe I have hit on the high points. Tomorrow, I will find out where I will live for the next two years! We have had a lot of technical training on the history and current state of Albania so I will try to write more about that soon.