I met up with Pastor Alban at around 8:30 in the morning Jamiya e sheshi Qender Skenderbeu (at the the mosque in Skanderbeg Center).  On our way to Fushkruje, we exited the furgon (minivan) early to pick up a few shovels and some other sundry tools.  Soon we were on sight, helping to clear the material which had built up around the building over the initial construction phases.


Ervis and I worked in concert with a man named Eduardo who was operating a backhoe.  He was very precise, which made for less digging by hand, and no damage to existing structures.  We were able to locate the drain hook-ups for the pisets and get them cleared as well.  It was good to sweat through a set of clothes.  I don’t love digging by hand, but it does get the blood moving and the brow dripping.  Ali, one of the young men from church, came by to offer a hand.  Below is a photo of him in front of the church building at the end of the work day.


On the way back through Fushekruje I took in a few sights.Image

The local wedding dress shop.


Chickens for sale.

After exiting the third bus home at Qender Sauk, I bought some small peaches, a bunch of bananas and two small salcica.  Max enjoyed his treat.  As I walked up the road behind the school I am living at, I spied my friend Chimey.  He asked if I would like a cup of coffee; of course.  Soon I was seated on his couch with him next to me.  His daughter brought out a glass of Pepsi, a cube of powder-sugar covered gelatinized fruit, and a cube of chocolate.  Good, I thought, this isn’t coffee, but after a quick hello I should be on my way.

Ten minutes later, did I want regular coffee or Turkish?  What was Chimey having?  Turkish?  I’m with Chimey.  A cup of Turkish coffee, some more conversation, and I’m out of here.  But wait, what’s this?


Hospitality in Albania is difficult to pin down.  It seems that the idea is, if a little is good, then a lot must be really good.  Try and remember the first time you took a spoonful of whipped cream from the tub in the fridge.  Yes?  Maybe just one more spoonful.  Soon you find you are pushing the empty tub to the bottom of the garbage can and masking it with other garbage over top; groaning at your over-sugared, cream-sick stomach.  But, its so good!  I know.

Chimey’s wife, daughter and mother-in-law all collaborated to make me feel at home.  The five of us sat in the living room while everyone politely watched me eat.  Looking at Chimey from time to time, he would say one word: “Mir?”  “Mir, schum mir,” I would say.  They wanted me to eat, and relax with them and enjoy their home and their labors.  I guess I’m trying to think of a time when a family I barely knew offered that to me before.  All Saints was that for me in the beginning.  With Chimey, his every action conveys to me the words “I love you.  And I am so glad you are here.”  It really is a beautiful experience to be treated as the honored representative of an exalted God.

Things are better in other ways as well.  This was a good day to reset myself.  I love you.