Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kishe i Laç, Part 1

Good news! The camera is back in the States and hopefully will be fixed soon-ish.

Bad news. "Soon-ish" will be about two months.

Good news! I'm going through all my old photos that I never posted so there are still some stories to tell!

Bad news. I'm procrastinating again and not working on a video I'm supposed to finish editing.

Good news! I'm finally updating my blog though!

Bad news. I'm apparently only motivated to do so when I'm supposed to be doing something else.


Back in June, around the second week of living and "working" in Lushnje, Lena invited me to go to an event of some kind. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, but she kept referring to something something "kishe ilaç" (keesh ee lahch) something something. "Kishe" means church and "ilaç" means pill/medicine. Pill Church? Church Drugs? Health/Medicine event at church? Jesus loves pills? I was so confused and at the time did not have the language skills to even explain my confusion, and all my great English-speaking friends remained un-met. Lena told me to come along and meet her at her house the next day, so I just smiled and nodded and hoped for the best.

The next morning, I called Megan and literally told her I was going somewhere to something to do some sort of hopefully work-related somestuffs but I really have no idea what's going on I'm just gonna trust Lena is that a bad thing to do? if you don't hear from me by the end of the day I'm probably dead so wish me luck. And I hoped in a furgon with Lena and...her family? Why is her family with us for a medical event? I'M SO CONFUSED.

We started driving, and then we left town. Not exactly what I was expecting, but ok, it's probably in a village. We passed Kavaje a half hour later. And then we got to the nearest big city, Durres, and passed that. (By now, I've broken out into a sweat and I have NO IDEA WHERE I'M GOING what am I doing with my life this is crazy help me.) When we passed Tirana, I knew I was in trouble. The entire time, they kept telling me, "We're going to Kishe Ilaç." Even Lena's son, who speaks a bit of English, couldn't explain it any better.

My answer finally came when we turned off the highway (two. hours. later) at the sign for "Laç." And I realized, they weren't saying "kishe ilaç" but "kishe i Laç" (which is a huge difference...but pronounced almost the same). We weren't going to any church medical/pill/drugs/health event. We were on a tourist trip to visit a church in Laç.

Side note on Laç: a volunteer was posted there last year. He moved to another site around the time my group showed up in March because there was too much gun violence in town. We were supposed to avoid Laç, yet here I was, prancing into town with Lena & Co. And not a week later, the only election-related murder occurred right in the middle of town there. But, you know, I'm sure the people there are very nice.

So I found myself in Laç. I found myself in Laç. WHAT AM I DOING IN LAC. Are you there God, it's me, Margarety, and I don't know what I'm doing and I'm stuck in a furgon with practical strangers and we're going up a mountain now and there's people banging on the van and did I mention I'm so. confused?

It was Albania in a nutshell: breathtakingly beautiful one second, batsh*t insane the next.

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