O nás Pro dárce Pro dobrovolníky Kosovský deník Fotogalerie Odkazy
Tirana Diary 2 July 1999

Tirana 2 July 1999

"Let go to Pristina" ("lets go to Ibiza"), that is the main song in my head. We have already figured out what our work will be there. Basically the first stage is helping to organise a kind of creative daycare centers for kids and youth, located near the unsafe areas in order to keep the kids and youths away from them. And also in those areas where people are starting to rebuild soon, in order to give some space to their parents and the other adults to take on repairing their houses. I have talked it over with some organisations, and somebody just has to start it. So in the next few days I will ask some volunteers to go there as scouts and see if this idea is viable. We are thinking in the first place of the Peja (Pez) region. Which is heavily destroyed. And where the most mine-accidents are reported.

Today I went up to the famous Castle, one of the most expensive hotels in town, right on top of the mountain (I was so stupid to forget to bring the digital camera with me), to meet up with the training course of the Albanian and Kosovar youth council. An interesting political game is going on between the two. As long as the Kosovar Youth Councils were here in Albania they were like under the umbrella of the Albanian Youth Council. Who actually helped them a lot - but knowing the Kosovar mentality the Kosovars would have organised themselves just as well, to be honest the Kosovars have a better structure than the Albanians, a longer history of self-organisation as well. But nevertheless credit where credit's due. The Albanian Youth Council has been very active to help the refugees and the Kosovar youth council. And now, at this moment in time, the Kosovars would like to establish their own Kosova Youth Council in Kosov@. They see themselves as an equal partner of the Albanian Youth Council and not as one of its member organisations.

Since I have contacts to all of them as well as to their different donors I am in the middle of this fight, although only as an observer. I must admit that I agree with the position of the Kosovar Youth Council, but I understand the Albanian Youth Council as well. The latter is very worried that the sudden interest in their activities will drop and focus on the KYC (in Albanian KRK) henceforth, leaving them alone. I would rather see that they'd change the discussion a bit and discuss how they can both support each other as equal organisations instead. This small discussion between the two youth councils is by the way a kind of pars pro toto example how things go on the whole here. The "home-land", as host country for refugees, more or less has this feeling of being the bigger brother which helped the smaller sister. Now the smaller sister is returning to its land and would like to have a bit more distance to the bigger brother. They had a better organised country in Kosov@ than Albania was. But they have this feeling it'd be better to wait with it until when they are actually back home. They don't want to upset their hosts.

This discussion between the youth councils, don't see it as something too serious, they will work it out, came up during this seminar where the KYC designed its own direction and structure for when they are back in Kosov@, so they more or less already came out with their ideas before being back in Kosov@. Most of this discussion will take place later, when the relationship between Kosov@ and Albania gets established. At the moment it is chaotic.

Important is that the KYC has decided, and that it was a decision of all the participants, that the KYC is not going to be an organisation of only Albanians in Kosov@, but that it will be open to all youth in Kosov@ in the future. Because of that they don't want to have the eagles in the logo. They expect that every organisation in Kosov@ will have the national Albanian symbol somewhere in there logo, so they don't want it. If in the future other groups want to join they want to be open to them, even if it were Serbian organisations. At this moment we have to say "even", but it will change in the future, I hope, into "also", which has an other meaning.

I am happy, the long discussions we have had in the past two months about the future of Kosov@ have had their results. Although this is of course a very select group. It's far from representing the youth of Kosov@ in general at this moment, it's more of an intelectual group. Nevertheless it's nice to have been part in this. Arta, our office worker, felt good in this group. She is rather at her place here. And she is happy for the first time in months - she and her husband and child have a small appartment in the hotel, without having to share it with ten other persons. And she is amongst young people who want to build up their country. The Albanian course leader was surprised to work with a group of young people who didn't immediately say that they wanted to leave their country (be it Kosv@ or Albania) as soon as possible. He had to admit that he personally would as soon as he got the possibility.

For the rest I got the feeling that it was a good seminar, constructive and full of spirit. I was glad that I dropped by to see it. After all the stories of how bad this and that is going, it is good to see that people are really believing in their future and are not just busy to survive every day.

Back in my office I phoned unicef and they told me that they had all the leaflets we asked for ready for us, as well as t-shirts, posters, 5000 toys, 10.000 set of drawing kits, etc. I could come and collect it. I was a bit overwhelmed, since we just brought a truck up north yesterday and I didn't see any possibility to organise a new truck, it costs a lot of money if you organise it yourself. UNICEF give me the advise to ask CARE, who said after I phoned them that they were willing to do it, but that one of their trucks had an accident, so they didn't have free transport capacity. Knowing that the two Way Stations in Gojan and Rreshen are in the place where the Saudi Arabian Joint Relief Committee wanted to build two refugee camps, I went to them to introduce us and to ask if they could transport the goods for us.

At first it was a bit hard, the guy was a bit against having other people there, but then I explained who we were and what we do and he became more and more friendly. In the end we went out to get a minibus back into town and just as we found one, the guy came running out the building and said that when we could put some short information on paper he would show it to his chief and maybe they had something for us. We went back in, I wrote some data on a paper and he went to his big chief, five minutes later we were invited to see the big chief and very soon that person said that they could organise a truck for us. So tomorrow the Saudis want to transport toys for us. Just yesterday we transported gifts from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Commision with the Dutch army and tomorrow this. Somehow the paradoxes are getting better and better all the time.

Then I went to UNICEF to get the papers and everything signed and to find out that the promised leaflets are still not in the country, in the meantime, walking from the SAJRC to UNICEF, I saw some person from AMURT (Ananda Marga) and asked if I could pick up some extra babyfood supplies at his warehouse as well. No problem, he said, tomorrow morning we can come by. Sometimes luck is with you all the way. At UNICEF they could even organise it so that we were able to pick up the stuff in the morning, though the warehouse normally is closed at that time.

Back in the sunflower house however I got a telephone call by satphone from our people in Puke. The Gojan way station is closed, NATO was still not there and the looting by the local kids is getting such a problem that either NATO, or the Albanian police has to ensure better conditions there. Furthermore he said that the way station in Shemri needs more sunflower volunteers, but that they just heard that the CARE people there don't want to have more people from us, while they can secure our safety. On Monday an official delegation from UNICEF is checking all the way stations to see what we are doing, and the Saudis pay for the truck especially because they like us being in Gojan. I would really be glad if all those organisation would make up their mind and start pulling on the same string. In the last few days I am more like a logistic freak then a social worker and I get more and more the feeling that everybody is playing his own game rather than taking part in any kind of cooperation.

The more positive message was that the group in Puke found more or less two refugee camps in Puke, with almost 600 refugees from places in Kosov@ which are now unreachable. These refugees will stay a bit longer in Albania, since it doesn't look like anything significant will change there in the north of Kosov@, but you never know.

By the way there will also be a heavy press coverage on Shemri tomorrow. About twelve journalists will visit the way station. We won't make it in time with our UNICEF material. But what the heck, that is not the reason we are here.

In the evening I explained my day to the volunteers here, they start to understand that it isn't all that easy. That was my day......

wam :-)

ps the Sally from yesterday was actually called Flo, sometimes I miss one, names are not my strongest side anyway.

pps sitting on my balcony I hear shooting at least a kilometer away. It seems to be true Albania is at this moment more unsafe than Kosov@. The shooting is repeated almost every ten minutes from a different location. I am glad that all the volunteers are sleeping quietly (I hope).

ppss I just heard that my weekly german translation of the Diary is not published on the Internet pages of the TAZ anymore, but on the cultural pages or something like that instead. Lieber leute von die TAZ, nur ein word - "danke".

wam :-)