Tirana 11 July 1999
The coming 3 or 4 days the Diary will not appear as soon as it has been up
to know. I am on my way up and down to Pristina and it is not clear how
soon I will come in connection with a working internetline or even a
working telephoneline for that matter. So don't worry we (I) are (am) still
At last again a quiet night, no shooting in the direct neighbourhood, what
give me a good feeling. Saturday night and no shooting, maybe it was just
the thunderstorm the last days which made people so unrestless. The biggest
sleep breaker last night was a minibusdriver who came one night too early.
We told him yesterday evening to come in the night from Sunday on Monday at
half past 3. Of course even after checking a couple of times it didn't work
out. He came this night. Luckly enough he didn't wake up the whole
neighbourhood, what normally people are doing, mostly when a driver is
coming to pick up somebody, also in the midst of the night, they stay in
their car and blow the horn so long untill the person they come for react.
Anyway it was quite hard to make him clear that he was a night too early and
that he has to come back the next night. We still don't know if he
He probably didn't understood since he showed up on his doorstep this
morning again around 8 o`clock to asked some explination. The problem was
that he is from the North and George who organised is from the south and
those dialects are so different that people can't understand almost
eachother. So I had a very nice conversation with the driver this morning,
he didn't spoke a word different as Albanian and my Albanian is by now just
enough to order some food and to say thank you. So I draw a cartoon and
after a while he understood it. He actually explained afterwards George,
when he arrived, that George told him wrongly the date. If you don't speak
the languages you have to be creative, and some times that works better.
I found at something about all those illegal restaurants, gambling houses,
bars and kiosks, they are a bit less illegal than I thought so far. The
owners don't pay rent for it, or have any paper that they are legal, but
already some years they pay every month some penalty money to the local
government for using and destroying public property. The ones who didn't
want to pay it got removed by the police in the past, until somebody took
over who was willing to pay this monthly penalties. Gambling house are even
paying about 100$ per machine each month for breaking the law on gambling.
So in a way the town is destroying a lot of their income at this moment.
Just to make it clear this is not rent what this people are paying it is a
penalty for breaking the law. Suddenly however the town decided to improve
the law and that is new.
Also a lot of discussion are going on at town council level about the water
situation. I was right when I wrote that I couldn't imagen that nobody
reacted to what was told to me by local people. Some international
organisations as WHO (World Health Organisation) also reacted very heavily
on this water chaos. As reaction the town made some information campaign on
television in the last days, asking the people not to use so much water on
the street in order to stop the dust. There is 125 liters of water per
person and this actions as well as the hunderds of carwashers are using up
much more. Besides that the world bank seems to be willing to lend the
town of Tirana the money to finish the new water pipelines.
At this moment we are at the top of volunteers in the house, there are 25
now here. Which means that we have some logistic problems within the
building, since we have only 20 sleeping places. But tonight 5 will leave
for Pristina and tomorrow an other 7 for Kukes, Gjakova and Peja, so we
seems to be able to handle it. Actually the whole house is in a kind of
nice atmosphere now, some are arriving, some are packing for leaving
tonight, some are out to buy the most emergency supplies we think we need
in Kosov@, like gascookers, and a lot of cleaning materials and paints for
our office in Pristina, since as far as we know the serbian police has try
to burn it down inside. Food boxes with tin cans are prepared, we surely
have a good meal when we are there. Wrapping up all the last things to do,
I have been writing reports the last hours, signing official papers for
every volunteers that he or she is officially working for us. So are trying
to organising their helicopter flights to Kukes (they are very exiting
about it, hopping in 20 minutes to Kukes, we will drive at least 10 hours I
hope), some are trying to get order in the office so that when I and others
are gone for some days the office knows what to do. And so on and so on.
Rand from the states is fantastic, he should have stayed these days, but he
will be in charge of the office in Pristina, but he designed all kind of
forms which made the work a lot easier. Still we have to go over each form
together with somebody from Albania to make clear how we like it to be
filled in. By the time that the minibus will come I have the feeling that
we have everything under control.