Peace Corps Albania

First of all, some FAQs:

1. Where are you?

Albania. I know, weird, right? The Peace Corps goes to Europe?

2. Umm, where is that?

Good question. Glad you asked. Albania can be found here:

Or, closer up: 

In the spirit of being politically correct,* I copied these images from the CIA World Factbook. Which I would assume is pretty legit.
*I do believe using the words "spirit" and "politically correct" in the same sentence is automatically contradictory. Honey badger don't care.

3. What's the language/ethnicity/population/culture/food/weather like?

Albania (Shqipëri) is made up of 95% ethnic Albanians (Shqiptarët), who speak Albanian (or shqip).

Albania is beautiful and warm and full of insanely friendly people. And salt. There's a lot of salt on everything here.

4. Shqipëri?


5. What does the Peace Corps do there?

Peace Corps Albania is made up of 3 sectors: Community Health Education, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and Community and Organizational Development (COD). There are sites all over the country, and in total we're about 75 volunteers spread evenly(-ish) through the three sectors. Most of us Healthers work for the Public Health Directories (Drejtoria Shendeti Publik, D.Sh.P.) and spend time in schools and doing public events. TEFL-ers work mostly in high schools (gjimnaz), although some work in the 9-year (elementary) schools; almost all volunteers also do a little English tutoring outside of their main assignments. COD volunteers most often work for municipalities (bashkia) or NGOs with everything from tourism to urban planning.

6. What'll you be doing?

I am a Community Health Educator and I work for our D.Sh.P. in the Office of Health Promotion. Lushnje's D.Sh.P. covers 17 surrounding village health centers and almost 175,000 people - and we aren't even close to being properly equipped to do that. We mostly focus on the city of Lushnje and do events in the schools and in our community's parks and markets. I also volunteer with the Albanian Red Cross and do health lessons in some villages by tagging along with a church bible study team.

I also teach lessons outside of work - I have 8 piano students, 2 English clubs, and some private English students. 

Lushnje is a super-agricultural zone. Every thirty feet on the highway is another produce stand filled to bursting with brilliant fruits and veggies (at least in summer time). The streets are lined with palm trees and little old gjushas (grandmas) in all black with white head scarves. There's a beautiful lulishte (public garden) in the center of town with cafes, byrek stands, mini go-carts for kiddos, and dozens of gjushs (grandpas) playing dominoes on rocks, keeping track of scores with little pencils on cardboard scraps.

For better or worse, this is home for the next two years.

6. Tell me a bit about Peace Corps

The Peace Corps' Mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans

One of the coolest things about being a PCV is that our only mission isn't just to work a single-focus job. Culture exchange (trying new foods, learning Albanian pop music, eating sheep's eyeballs, and circle dancing, as well as celebrating Thanksgiving with counterparts, making banana bread, and proving that living alone as a single woman isn't a big deal) is a part of our job here! Our effect on our communities - and our communities' effects on us - is a legacy that will stick with us for life.

Also, guys, let's be real here: 

The contents of this web site are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U. S. Government or the Peace Corps.

That is a direct quote from the US Peace Corps to you, just to remind you that I am not the poster child for the PC. Although I'm flattered you thought so.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Beautiful, I think right now you are on the long flight to Europe with your first stop in Amsterdam. I'm praying you are going at God's speed and am looking forward to your next post. XO Mom