How many ideas, stereotypes, ignorance about Albania. Sometimes if you look deeply at the horyzon from somewhere in the adriatic coast, in Italy, you can even see it. We are so close, neighbours somehow, and maybe for this reason people think that they know everything about this place, so nothing, because they really believe there is nothing to learn, from here. They are wrong, incredibly wrong. And Tirana is the city of paradoxes, the bridge between the european way of living and the albanian old, amazing traditions. A mixture of cultures, religions, people that come and go, someone stays, someone come back from travels bringing new knowledge. Fruit and vegetable markets everywhere in the street, in the caos of cars and voices, people selling, people buying and poeple passing by. Everything is alive, here. And the black net of electric cables upon the heads, unique.
I am Luigia I came from Italy. crazy but I’m so quiet.
I want to tell you my first experience away from everything and everyone, especially my family .When I told my parents that I wanted to come here for six months in Tirana , they looked at me with a perplexed and worried . The final decision I took in two days and I left , knowing that they would never accept my choice . Now are two months that I am bere. I suggest everyone to male this experience,because give you a lot of energy
Te Pastrojme Bregdetin; 22 May 2015, in collaboration the volunteers of the Beyond Barryers with other associations, have participated in the cleaning and maintenance of public places, in this case a piece of sea of Durres.
Participating in the day to Durres I have learned that they begin to be us many groups activists composed by young boys to Tirana, to which it is a lot to heart their country and that they try to change the country beginning from zero. I like these movements, because I am the best way for a new beginning and to show to whom is firm that someone he is moving… and if everybody hocks there we can succeed in having a cleaner world.
Hi everybody! My name is Marianna Rozzato, I’m 19 years old, I live in Messina, in Sicily. I decided to do my EVS in Albania, Tirana. This is my second week here.. I chose to do a short-term EVS. My project is about helping child with disabilities. I live in an house with other 7 volunteers, that come from Sardegna. I feel really good with them and we are already like a big family. Each of us is different from each other and in spite of our ages, we strongly agree. We are divided in two groups and we work in two different schools. Even though it isn’t my first experience of volunteering , it’s always like a first time. The child are really wonderful, they give me satisfactions, even only with a simple smile or simply with an hug…
We organize a lot of activities, for example : dancing, singing, drawing, painting and we also stay in the garden or in the gym, where we play football, volleyball or basketball . By now, I haven’t had lots of opportunity to visit the city but I would really like to know Tirana.
I also got to know other Tirana’s girls and I really enjoy my time with them. Last Saturday we went out with a lot of people even of our Host Organisation: “Beyond Barriers”. We have planted trees in a place quite unspoilt and to me , it has been really significant. I really like this experience and I hope that the other mounth that I’ll spend here, will be good and wonderful too. All in all, I think that this experience could change my life.
CAMBIO DI PROSPETTIVA
Ciao sono Andrea, ho vent’anni e sono italiano. Quando ho deciso di intraprendere questo progetto ero entusiasta di iniziare un’esperienza ricca di aspetti umani e di novità. Si tratta infatti della mia prima esperienza fuori dall’Italia, a stretto contatto con ragazzi e ragazze italiani ed albanesi.
Vivere per due mesi in una città straniera con lingua e cultura differenti dalla mia, da subito mi è sembrata una grande opportunità sia per l’esperienza di supporto ai ragazzi nelle scuole, sia per la convivenza a Tirana con gli altri ragazzi italiani.
Ora che sono in Albania da circa tre settimane mi sento più a mio agio sia nelle attività sia nel conoscere la città e mi sento più tranquillo con i ragazzi che incontro ogni giorno nelle scuole, ed anche con i ragazzi con i quali convivo.
Uscire ogni mattina per passare la giornata nelle scuole insieme ai ragazzi mi fa sentire bene, dando un senso alla giornata già dall’inizio.
Nel fine settimana poi, con gli amici, usciamo in gruppo e giriamo per la città scoprendo nuove strade e nuovi posti, trovando quasi sempre un accordo per dove andare.
Incontriamo molte persone del posto, sempre gentili nei nostri confronti e sempre disponibili per informazioni e aiuto.
Tirana sembra un po’ caotica, con molto traffico e smog, ma io ed i miei compagni di esperienza abbiamo imparato presto ad orientarci e nel fine settimana siamo soliti uscire la notte per conoscere qualche nuovo locale e il giro di giovani che li frequentano.
Da quando sono arrivato a Tirana è passato meno di un mese, ma ormai mi sento come se fossi in una nuova casa, con nuovi amici e con altre novità da scoprire.
Uno splendido quadro dalle tinte bruno scure che dal verde delle montagne degrada a tratti nel grigio delle città, illuminato dalla luce di un tramonto prematuro che solo pochi chilometri prima abbagliava il tacco dello Stivale. Questa è l’Albania come appare dal finestrino dell’aereo, che da Roma mi porta a Tirana circa venti giorni fa. La città ti avvolge come un mare di traffico, cemento e rifiuti sulle note dei clacson e i ruggiti di migliaia di Mercedes; forme indefinibili di palazzi dai più svariati stili e tonalità e gente, tantissima gente che cammina e vive la strada. I marciapiedi interrotti da imponenti tralicci dell’alta tensione, diventano lungo il cammino pavimenti piastrellati, terra o macerie risultato delle recenti demolizioni.
Lavoro come volontario insieme ad altri nove amici, in due istituti che assistono bambini affetti da disabilità mentali; qualcuno pronuncia già i nostri nomi, qualcun altro ci insegna l’albanese, altri semplicemente ci sorridono.
La nostra residenza si trova a ridosso del centro di Tirana, racchiusa in un reticolo di strade irregolari, contornata da tanti mercatini improvvisati. Dovendo riassumere in poche righe le sensazioni provate nei miei primi venti giorni in Albania, non posso non condividere il pensiero che mi ha accompagnato e mi accompagna durante le mie passeggiate per le strade della capitale e nei monti che circondano la città. Quanta bellezza inespressa, è la frase che riecheggia in continuazione nella mia mente, mentre attraverso le trafficate e sconnesse vie della capitale o sorvolo in funicolare le immense periferie che degradano verso i boschi. Il calore della gente mal si concilia col grigiore con cui talune volte la città appare al visitatore. Un mondo sommerso, da scoprire e da vivere.
I’m Michele, a 24 years old boy from Cagliari. In spite of living in an amazing and sunny island, I was looking for changes, after having looked into myself. It all began with the decision to take part in an Evs project to do volunteerism with children in Tirana, I went through it and here I am! Living with a group of people in a foreign city, in East Europe was the first change and it wouldn’ t have been easy since I’ ve never been used to it but I was astonished to see that the people of the group are very open minded and particularly involving also because they like to be informed about many things ranging from history, news, politic, literature, places and music and their culture is huge so that is a pleasure to stay with them. At the beginning I was a bit spaced out but I soon got off thinking that this experience has two opposite faces, which is the point I want to write about, to speak about my impressions.
Living with a group of Italian people who have a similar cultural background, in a comfortable and cosy hostel is good but out of the hostel the city shows itself and spreads like a drop of oil, towards the mountains and the situation is different. Tirana is very big and has many wide and open spaces and streets that makes for a metropolitan city, a capital, which looks like modern but in the same time has many hidden aspects inside. As a consequence it has been interesting to see how the city is changing trying to be modern, and it has a fantastic and big square, Skanderberg Square, many shops, restaurants, discos around and a modern block called “ Blloku” living with half destroyed houses, dirty streets and no zebra crossing.
I also got off thinking that any experience or trip really depends on how you live it and the people you live it with. I want to stress that because going out with the people of the group boils down to choose the most modern clubs and mall to go at evening in order to and have fun. The discos and pubs I’ve been to are very good and what struck me was that many Albanians I met in the streets during the situations of the everyday life or when I went out or went shopping is that they are extremely helpful and they like being like that! After all that, the point is yet to come: the real Albania, made up of lack of interest and information and difficulties of everyday’s life.
Only speaking with people who are really conscious of the world around them and only getting closer to the work of the project I began to understand the reality around me make up of people who want to change their environment and their lives and be free after years of Comunism and dictatorship, people who need other people, who need smiles, who need to help others and interestingly are very fascinated by Italy! And then I saw the schools where I began to spend my time as a volunteer. Their doors opened up to reality and there I saw the children who burden autism and mental disability, and I got to know that most of the people are not be able to identify autism and prevent it. That blew me away!
The work in the schools is funny as well as difficult and leads to reflections about life, about how much some people need help to take on something that they don’ t know and they don’ t know how to face. I refer to the children who suffer autism and their parents and I thought about how much their lives must be difficult and I soon realised that even me in the school didn’ t know how to deal with children who freak out because of the mental disability and behave like other kids don’ t, but I see it as a challenge I want to take on it to prove myself!
Back to the school ( of life ) ! Kisses, Michele
When I arrived in Tirana’s airport I found a welcome sign with my name and it was so nice to find the association’s volunteers waiting for me.
During the trip in the taxi, I tried to pronounce words like: “Faleminderit” or “Miremengjes” for ten times but it was so difficult for me! I didn’t expect this difficulty. The first day in Tirana was a sunny day and I saw so many palms that I thought it was a little bit similar to Sardinia. When I saw our house and my neighbourhood I found it nice and it is close to a colourful open market. I met other volunteers here and they are serious and kind people. I discovered that Tirana has a lot of inhabitants, more than I knew because they are about 1 million instead of 400 000, as wikipedia said. I saw some chaotic street and very poor people that was not funny to see, but I understand it’s possible in a city like this that grows up so fast.
We visited the 2 schools where we have to work and we talked first with the psychologist of the school cause she knows the children very well. The children started to give me all the satisfaction and feelings we need :).
I arrived in Tirana two weeks ago and since the first moment I felt at home!
The city is a colourful mix between east and west Europe with the traffic that reminds me Beirut.
I’m part of a group of 9 Italian volunteers, aged between 20 and 29 years old. Our life experiences and attitudes are very different as well our characters. But in spite of this, since the first days we’ve create a friendly and “familiar” atmosphere at our home!
In these days we began to be familiar with the issue of disability. Ira and the others guys of Beyond Barriers provided us the on arrival training course during which we have learnt how to manage with disabled children and the basic rules of how to make a good public speech.
Then, these will be our main task during these two months: – – working in two different schools with children suffering of suffering of autism and learning disabilities and to inform youngster about the opportunities that offer to be a volunteer in Albania and abroad.
What else? My first impressions are super positives and rich of good vibes. Can’t wait to immerse myself in the Tirana way of life!
Stay tuned :)
Hello I am Stefano, from Italy. Tuesday, 6th of January, I left Sardinia destination Tirana.
Curiosity took over me, many questions about the lifestyle of Albania, the reaction of the people 20 years after the defeat of Communist Dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, who isolated the entire nation for almost 40 years.
Since I was born in 80’s, I lived my childhood with the imagine of Albanians emigrants who tried to get to Italian coasts with all prejudices who burden themselves and, even though, these prejudices slowly disappeared when I grew up, my feelings towards Albania people were contrasting.
Once landed, the fascination of Tirana took me, the lights, the landscapes, the mountains, the contrast between western and eastern architecture. One of the incredible mixtures I have ever seen in my life. Wow!
I’m sharing this adventure with other 9 persons with whom I began to have a relationship of friendship and cultural and social exchange.
I went to the city in a period when everything is changing, modernization has reached its peak and there are demographic booms. These elements make the chaotic and disordered Tirana, and this for me being used to the relaxing life of my little town Oristano, was shocking.
After a few days, the welcome of Albanian people made me feel at home. Italians are considered brothers, the best neighbours that they had.
During the second weekend we went to mountains around Tirana, where there’s a perfect skylines of the city and where we realized how big it is (one of the biggest metropolitan area in Europe). In this simple way we understood that the impact of the urbanization is creating conflicts between the past and the present of the city.
I’m pretty sure these 2 months will be very exciting.