For the past few months, I’ve been working on a recycling project in the Permet schools with local NGO Cesvi! It’s been a long and winding road, and we’re only half done, but I wanted to share some photos and stories from the project!
As an Environmental Studies major, I’m pretty passionate about the environment.
When I was in college, I composted, tried living zero-waste, and volunteered at a community garden. I was a terrible parent to my collection of air plants (I need to work on my green thumb), but I loved engaging in the small, hands-on activities that helped to make the world a little more sustainable.
So when I was given the opportunity to help coordinate a recycling project right here in Permet, needless to say I was thrilled.
I’d been waiting for a chance to work on an environmental project, and finally a year into my service, I had the institutional support, community buy-in, and funding I needed to get an activity off the ground. Continue reading The Permet Recycling Project
On a beautiful Friday morning, I had the opportunity to travel to the village of Frasher with my bashkia colleagues in celebration of Naim Frasheri Day! Located in the heart of the national park, the village was beautiful and had many unexpected surprises!
Friday, May 25, 2018, 4:14pm
Oh, man. I am exhausted. This morning, I had the opportunity to travel with the city council and my bashkia colleagues to the village of Frasher to celebrate Naim Frasheri Day in his birthplace.
Naim Frasheri was an Albanian poet and patriot born on May 25, 1846.
Naim Frasheri was an Albanian poet and patriot born on May 25, 1846.1 Today he is known across the country for his contributions to the national Albanian independence movement from the Ottoman empire, and he and his brothers helped shape the modern day Albanian language.2
The three brothers, Naim, Sami, and Abdyl, were born in the village of Frasher, which is located in the heart of the Bredhi i Hotoves (Fir of Hotovë-Dangelli) National Park approximately 39 km from the city of Permet. Today, the village is an important cultural monument, though its isolated mountain location makes it a little difficult to visit. Continue reading Celebrating Naim Frasheri Day
After getting caught in a thunderstorm during last year’s pilgrimage, Bri and I hiked up to the Church of Shen Elena for the annual fest once again! This time, the weather was perfect, and we were able to enjoy the lovely journey and festivities!
Monday, May 21, 2018, 4:28pm
This morning, Brianne and I completed the pilgrimage to the village of Lipe’s Church of Saint Elena (Kisha e Shen Elenes) that we began last year with Barbara and Tim. Exactly twelve months earlier, we were practically washed off the side of the mountain in a torrential downpour of biblical proportions (or at least that’s what it seemed like at the time).
Thankfully, this morning dawned bright and clear with hardly a cloud in the sky.
Thankfully, this morning dawned bright and clear with hardly a cloud in the sky, though I still brought along my umbrella and an extra rain jacket just in case. My friend Koli met us at my front gate around 6:15am dressed in jeans and a polo shirt. When we both raised our eyebrows at his wardrobe choices, he shrugged his shoulders in response.
“This trip today is nothing,” he assured us. “It’s a xhiro.”
And truly after the many, many difficult hikes that we’ve completed together in the past, today’s hike up to the church felt like small potatoes. We set a brisk pace up the mountain side, and while I got a little warm from the bright sunlight, I felt stronger and faster than ever. And as we stopped on the hillside to admire the sprawling fields and rugged mountains that surrounded the picturesque city of Permet, I felt like the pilgrimage was truly a journey worth working out for. Continue reading Shen Elena Take Two
In honor of Earth Day, Elliot and I held a series of DIY workshops where students learned how to make different crafts from recycled materials! On the actual holiday, Bashkia Permet held an outdoor expo where the students were able to display their hard work and explain what they learned to VIP guests!
Sunday, April 22, 2018, 3:42pm
Happy Earth Day!
It’s an absolutely gorgeous Sunday! The sky is bright blue, and the sunshine is lovely and warm. I woke up around 7:30am feeling well-rested, and I jumped straight into the busiest part of the day.
This morning, Bashkia Permet held an Earth Day Expo for visiting embassy staff and EU representatives. It was also a great way for the community to learn about the holiday, chat with local artisans and food producers, listen to live music, and enjoy a traditional dance performance.
Bashkia Permet held an Earth Day Expo for visiting embassy staff and EU representatives.
Over the past week, Elliot and I have been working with students in the 9-year schools to create art projects out of recycled materials. Each workshop was about one to two hours long, and they gave students the opportunity to get creative, hang out with their friends, and learn something new. And even better, they gave me an excuse to get rid of some of the recyclables I’ve been hoarding.
I also want to give a shout to Barbara, my site mate, who passed down all of her crafting supplies to me since she’s leaving Permet in May. I never would have been able to pull off the workshops without her amazing and extensive array of nearly every crafting material under the sun! Continue reading DIY Workshops and Earth Day
Another year in the Peace Corps, another April 9th birthday! This spring, I turned 24 in the Peace Corps (which rhymes), and I celebrated with two big lunches, one with the Permet-Kelcyre volunteers and another with my Albanian friends!
Happy birthday to me!
On April 9th, I celebrated my 24th birthday, and between the Orthodox Easter holidays and the long weekend, I had three days in a row of delicious and enormous lunches. (I don’t think I’ll need to eat meat again for another month at least.)
Between the Orthodox Easter holidays and my long birthday weekend, I had three days in a row of delicious and enormous lunches!
Because some volunteers were going to be out of town on my actual birthday, I celebrated with my American friends on Saturday, which is actually a cultural no-no in Albania. People here believe that it’s bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before their actual birthday. Still, I decided I’d take my chances.
The Monday after Easter is a national holiday, which meant that I actually had a day off for my birthday this year! My Albanian friends and I gathered for a barbecue, and the weather was absolutely beautiful! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!
With another year year under my belt, I have lots of reflections about my twelve months in service as well as hopes and dreams for my remaining time in Albania. So read on for the full recap of my birthday celebrations and my mushy-gushy feelings! Continue reading Turning 24 in the Peace Corps