A student, Jona, invited me to visit her village. It’s a 10 minute furgon ride from the center of Belsh. The road was nice and smooth but a little narrow. It was a scenic drive. There were lots of green hills, farms, and lakes. It didn’t quite hit me that this is Albania but it is. The countryside gave me a Scandinavian feel.
When I got off the furgon, the students took me to a party at a local, celebrating the last day for primary school students.
The music was loud and the students were dancing. Seeing the boys sitting by the table caught me by surprise…they were drinking beer! They weren’t suppose to but no one enforces this law. At the party, I did the Vallja dance, the traditional circle dance. It was fun. Then students around me were clapping and danced around me. I couldn’t dance at all….I danced like a 40-year old white guy who doesn’t know how to dance to the beat. It was time to go, so we left the party.
This is the experience that Jona and her friends showed me how they live. They walk 15 minutes to and from the village to get to school everyday. They walk on dirt road and surrounded with lakes and hills. I kept telling them that they are lucky to live in such beautiful places. They weren’t too enthused because they have daily farm chores.
When I entered Jona’s house, her family greeted me warmly. We went to the living room and were getting to know each other. I met her siblings and ate lunch. We watched Bidaai, the indian drama that many Albanians love. Jona’s mother showed me this drink and a fruit called moni. The texture is thick like a smoothie and tasted sweet and salty. Supposedly, it’s good for health.
In the afternoon, I walked to the farm zone and picked some cherries and consumed many of them. It’s cherry season and they have cherry trees in their backward! I walked around the country side and watched Jona doing her daily farm work outside. She’s strong and I respect her for doing this everyday.
Here is a sheep herder, herding sheep.
I had this for dinner and I enjoyed it!