O nás Pro dárce Pro dobrovolníky Kosovský deník Fotogalerie Odkazy
Tirana Diary 30 May 1999

Tirana 30 Mai 1999

I am sitting in my new private office, which is actually the balcony of our new house. From here I have a nice overview over the schoolyard and some of the smaller house, as well as the "road" towards our house. It is 7.oo o'clock in the evning, one of those moments that Tirana has water, now all the people are sitting in the front of their houses and filling up bottles and buckets. Two times a day the whole of Tirana has water, this is also the moment that we have to fill up our watertank on the roof, we have to do it manually tonight, since there is a powerbreak. The two arriving volunteers get it all today, there would have been coming more today, but the Italian railways are on strike and some of the airlines didn't fly on Tirana anymore. Which makes us next to impossible to reach if you are not flying with the military, since that must have been what was in the air the last two nights. The volunteer coming from Korea had to fly to Frankfurt and from there to Greece and from there took a bus to an Albanian border town and from there a bus to Tirana. Really an adventure. He brought me copies of my diary as they are standing on the net, they look beautifull, never have seen them before. I am back to email connections with the internet, can send and recieve, but can't get on the actual grid. For me that is the internet, as it has been serving me in Croatia and Bosnia. The other guy who arrived is a 50 years old fully trained nurse, but is now doing training work for nurses and trainer of social workers who work with drug and alcohol abusers. We couldn't wish for more, just a golden shot since there is both an alcohol and drug problem in this country, which is getting more and more serious, especially the drug problem, as well we were looking for people who could help us training first aid in the camps we are going to work. I took them to the Youth Center in Tirana, don't think that one is big, it is actually small, just a few rooms, but they work and are not making long lists of fancy plans what they are planning to do, when somebody give them the money. And there I had this nice experience again translating english into english, that means Albanian english, where you have to listen between the lines, since they are not the best in English most of them, into proper american or for koreans understandable english. I love those things. Translation between cultures. Our first group of volunteers will start to work in Vlore, the town with the speedboats going for drugs, illegal refugee and arm smuggle to Italia. And allthough Vlore is known as a beautifull beach town it is by far the most easy place around. Especially for foreign NGO's, but working together with a local NGO, what most international NGO's don't do ( they hire local staff, but don't work on an equal basis with them), means that we are rather inside the local community, are not seen as outsiders, but as geusts. I don't understand why foreign NGO's don't put time into prepairing there relationships here. They come and start working just like that. They don't even asked where they are building their camps, why nobody lives there. A small problem what the refugees in Durres, Shodar, Vlore and some other towns have is that this camps are build on former swamps. There are a lot of watersnakes there, most of them are harmless, but some aren't and the kosovarian don't know, they are just afraid. That's a reason why they want to train their own people what to do if somebody gets bitten by a snake, allthough there are (foreign) docters in most camps, they like to know how to solve such problems themselves. This is partly a psychological problem, the OSCE left them along in Kosov@, so they are not really convinced that the west will help them. I had a nice discussion this morning with George, he came in and told that the Miss Albanian contest was held yesterday, that was indeed a big thing, for days you could read it in the press. And geuss who won : the only blond hair girl in the compatition, she was from Pristina. Her hobbies are art and her wish is going fastly back to Kosov@. I told George that such things are politics, you can't declare somebody Miss Albania when she doesn't even have an Albanian passport. No problem he said, she will get one immediatly. And NATO is any way liberating Kosov@ so that it becomes part of bigger Ilirian (the old name of the Albanian region). Than I explain him that that is not NATO mandate. But he said the UK and Spain (we have some official visitor from Spain in Tirana today, because the main road was full of spanish flags) are pushing for a ground war. The Kosovarian who came about half a hour later for a job interview, they finally found this place, it cost them 3 days, since they don't know the city at all, where much more realistic. By the way I didn't invite them, they just came, heard it from others. They ask me as all kosovarian ask immediatly how the situation is at this moment in Bosna. They feel still a strong connection with old yugoslavia and want to know if Bosna has been rebuilded already, for 6 years they haven't heard much from there, they were depending on the Serbian news. I told them that I see the situation in Bosna not as being solved at all and that still a lot of Bosna refugees are outside the country or are living as displaced people within Bosna. They told me that they knew that, but always hoped that it wasn't true. As they believe it wasn't happening to them in Pristina when they could hear the war only 30 Km from the homes, they still were living a some how normal live. We had Serbs as friends, were working with them together, but after it all started in Pristina our houses were burning as the first, since we worked as translators for the OSCE. We are willing to live together with them again, but it need time, a long time, we can't forget so easily. I told them that I still have friends in Serbia, who don't have an easy time, when I mentioned their names, they said that they ofcourse knew the women in black and Vesna P. and that they believe that they are in a bad situation now. They also said that they were surprised to meet anybody in Albania who knew so much about the situation in former yugoslavia, since they can hardly discuss it with anybody here. The local Albanian know so much less about the war in Bosna and in Croatia or even from the situation in Kosov@. They had their hands full with their own situation. The kosovarian were I talked to are not happy here in Albania, to be honest they say that they don't understand this country. This are intellectuals from Kosov@, they runned organisations and companies. They didn't came from small villages but from big towns. Tirana for them is a third world country. Like somebody in Durres told me today, we knew after we came here we have to find an own place to stay, since this people here, they tick different. They don't want to form a bigger Albania. In the worst case they want to become an undepended state, since they don't really want to be part of this state here. This country, Albania, has it's own problems, they should solve it themselves. The government of this country decided to go hard on the maffia and criminals, they order their special police first to shot at criminal and then ask questions or arrest somebody. As what yesterday happened, an Albanian who worked in Greece for some years and didn't got paid, so he made problems in Greece, was put in jail there, came out, highjacked a bus and drove to Albania (the Greece special forces let him go). At Elbassan the bus was surrounded by special Albanian police forces, who forced the highjacker to give up. As results he shot the busdriver and two pasengers (Greece people, not seriously wounded) and then a sniper from the Albanian police force killed him. The Greece government is now angry on the Albanian government that they go so strong on this guy, since allthough he was in jail in Greece they can understand that the guy became angry because he wasn't paid for over two years. Back to our volunteers, our Korean guy found it in Tirana up to 50 meters from our place, than he went back to the pyramid, found some english speaking Albanian who phoned for him and we made an agreement to meet in the most expensive hotel in town, which everybody knows, since I any way had to go there to meet sisters from the catholic group "Notre Dame", which believe or not wants to work together with us. So there I was sitting with this nuns in the lobby of this expensive hotel, talking about aids, youth, and other problems, this Korean volunteer came in, impressing them a lot, people coming all the way from Korea to help us, our mixed pakistan-dutch american who lives in Vienna came a bit later, explaining the sisters that the have to work along with hippies, with buddish monks, jahova witnesses, protestant priest, no-believers, mormons, refugees from all cultures and I knew somehow it will work. I look at the five sunflowers on my balcony and think in this madness there are ways to do it, you just have to be able to walk on water, if you know what I mean.

wam :-)