Now our time really has come to it´s end and I would like to share my four most amazing experiences with you in both Albania and my centre:
– One day two friends and I were hitchhiking from a beach outside of Durres back into town. I was pretty unsure whether anybody would even stop. How wrong I was! The driver who took us with him was from Tirana and so he and two of his friends not only gave us a ride to Tirana but spontaneously also invited us for dinner. What a great experience!
– The next weekend the same newly made friends showed us around in Shkodra and surrounding and took us to a house we most probably would have never found ourselves, as I am pretty sure that it is not mentioned in any tour-guide: In the house local people make carpets from self-produced wool in handcraft with machines that are 200 years old. The owner showed us around, told us many interesting things and invited us into her house, where she presented us each with a little carpet and some self-made rose-juice. I have never tasted anything so delicious nor was I ever so overwhelmed by someone’s generosity!
– In the centre we have a girl who behaves very motherly towards her fellow kids: She would always take care of them, lead them by the hand, pull up their pants, give parts of her roll to them,… On our last day in the centre she came up to me and without saying anything she adjusted the collar of my blouse for me. I was really touched. She made no difference between me, and her friends from the centre. Why should we make any difference between them and other kids?
– From our very first day when we learned the names of each other one of the boys kept calling me “qershi”. I didn´t really give it much thought as I am used to fact that wherever I go people find it hard to pronounce my name. But that was before I learned that “qershi” actually means “cherry” in Albanian. I was given many nicknames in my life: Krissie, Keschi, Kiki,… I didn´t mind any of them (in fact I actually quite like them) but this one is definitely the most beautiful nickname somebody ever gave me!
So after one month that was richer in experiences and impressions than usually a whole year is I really can´t find any other words than theses ones:
Thank you so much for everything, Albania! I feel very privileged that I got to know a little more of your amazing culture, beautiful landscape and lovely people!
Kerstin (aka. Qershi :))