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I was told upon arriving in Albania that the building process would be slower than I had grown accustomed to while working in the States.  The Plagenhoefs told me at one point in time that they knew the church would eventually be finished, that it was in God’s hands, and that whatever was accomplished during my time here would be the proper amount.  Having to source materials for the fence around the children’s play area has become much more of a project than I had anticipated.  From what I can tell, it comes down to the basic principle of supply and demand.  It is not the Albanian way to build a fence like the one we want, so sourcing the supply becomes like a kind of game.  What makes the game more challenging is that the people we come into contact with will typically say “We don’t have that,” not taking another second to digress further; which leaves us to guess at where to look and ask next.

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It may be a cultural trait in the States to refuse to settle for a product which does not meet specifications.  It may also be a cultural trait in Albania to make due with what is available.  There seems not to be an awareness here that the world is big and that anything can be built, it is possible to make anything, you can be part of the solution.  It brings to mind photographs of modern Cuba.  Resourcefulness is a matter of necessity, and for most Albanians it is still necessary.

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Kreshnik and I were eventually able to find a plant which can take 6 meter long, 6 centimeter square tube-steel and convert it into capped, 2 meter, zinc-coated posts.  I would show photographs of the plant that can accomplish this, but the engineer on sight threatened to call the police if I could not prove to him that I had erased every photograph I had taken of the facility.

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