Teaching in Albania is a unique experience. I have never been a teacher, so even in the States, like everywhere, I have admiration for those that go into the classroom every day and face the intimidating children. This year, I have been teaching a group of students at a local private school about the United Nations. This is the fifth year in Albania that the US Embassy and a few organizations have come together to support a national Model United Nations (MUN) conference for teams of students from around Albania. This year, a team from Lezhë got selected and another PCV and I have elected to help them study.
AIDS/HIV and STI awareness month. The prevalence of STIs in Albania has gone up and continues to rise every year as international travel and the presence of contemporary media increases. This year, several health departments around Albania have made an effort to combat sexually transmitted infection by providing information to the most susceptible populations. In addition to our health fair this year, Lezha Health Department also did a few information sessions with the largest public school in town.
3 December 2013. Dita Boterore e Personave me Aftesi Te Kufizuar: International Day of Persons with Disabilities. On Tuesday, the special education center in town put on a winter recital for the entire community, including students from some elementary schools around town. Normally, those with disabilities are hidden from the rest of the community; students who are unable to be placed with those their age due to mental disability rarely go to school and rarely have the chance to participate in community events. And for the first time since being here, they became part of the community in an event to highlight the rights of the disabled and fight discrimination.
Exploring Sheher and celebrating the first snow, November 2013. Already it’s colder outside than it was last year, and to celebrate I took a walk back past the castle through the winding road of Lagja Sheher.
Gëzuar ditën e Faleminderimeve nga Rresheni! With some help for our feast from family and friends in the States, we were able to have pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and plenty of other delicious goodies including a moderately sized turkey cooked with love by the neighborhood bakery.
November 16, 2013. TEDxLezheCinema.
Last weekend I had one of my most successful community events since being in Lezhë. I, along with a local counterpart from the Qark (municipality) and pseudo-sitemate Derek, organized the first ever TEDx Cinema event in Albania. It has been six months since we came up with the idea, and after two months of hard work, planning, and organizing the event it feels great to have it all done. Organizing an event, especially one for the entire community, is unbelievably hard in Albania. Planning ahead and committing are not common, and organizing an event as structured as an “independently organized TED event” was no small task. It took some convincing, but once the Mayor and other prominent people in Lezhë realized how wonderful the event would be to bring the community together they supported our endeavor. Check out the official photos from the event here.
This Sunday I spent the morning with my neighbors picking kaki from the tree right next to my house. Silvi lent moral support as Angjelina climbed to the tallest branches to get the juicy ones.
Po Bie Shega. The pomegranates have returned. On my last trip up to the castle I noticed the round red, green, and brown balls like Christmas ornaments hanging from the trees. A few days later, there they were at the dyqan. This time of year I miss the changing fall colors, the warm buildings and the company. But Lezhë seems to have it’s own way of signaling the arrival of fall: with pomegranates.