Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23 2015 - Catching up with Deb Ne Shqiperi (Deb in Albania)


I know it's been two months since I last updated my blog.  I lost my hard drive (on my quickly again laptop), it took some time to get it diagnosed and fixed.  I lost all my historical information and decided it was just another way the universe was unburdening me of my old life and documents!! My refurbished computer is limping along with older software and a cursor that loves to jump around randomly, but it keeps me in the game for the basic presentation development, etc.  The first person who comes to see me (probably in October) will be bringing me a new tablet with the latest and greatest!

In the mean time, a lot has happened...

On April 24th, I found out my permanent site and official assignment.  My assignment is to work in the local municipality (called a "bashkia") in the Northern town of Vau i Dejes.  My primary role will be to work with the local government to help them with any needs assessments, team development, write grants for funding projects, 1-1 development and coaching, etc.

On May 11th, I was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV's) along with 52 other joyous Americans. The ceremony was special with two of our PCV's giving a speech in Shqip (Albanian) and traditional music being performed by another PCV and a local Albanian.  Our host families all attended and we each took them out for a little snack afterwards.  My host mom, Nyshi, had crepes for the first time!  She works every day and ALL day in the farm so she RARELY gets to the city of Elbasan and certainly doesn't go out for meals.  It was so great to see the delight on her face as she dug into her banana/nutella crepe!!

After a short Counterpart Conference (where we met our contacts for our official assignments in our permanent sites) my site mate, Sarah and I were driven in a World Vision SUV to our new home of Vau Dejes.

We were now beginning our 5 weeks of Phase 2 of training.  This Phase was for us to integrate into our sites by getting settled in our apartments, learn the community, where our work sites are, where to buy food, get items for our apartments, post- office, health center, where to get furgons (mini vans) to travel everywhere, where we could eat out, etc...

I am going to share a bunch of photos with some notes to get you all caught up and a few notes.  Later I will get back to reflecting and sharing cultural  high points as I am back in my village and traveling to Elbasan every day for my final 3 weeks of training (language and technical).  Then I will head back to Vau Dejes and get started on understanding my role as it relates to the Bashkia post-elections, new mayor, new council members, etc (local elections were on Sunday, June 21).

Enjoy the views...

Site Assignment of Vau i Dejes - WOO HOO! That's me with the Country Director and then our training manager, Genti.  It was a very happy day for everyone! After two crazy months of intense training, we all knew where we would be spending 2 years!  Now it was time to do some research on the location...

I'm having some problems with the application and getting the photos to load so I will publish and add more photos and notes soon! 


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  2. Great to hear from you, Debbie!!! So exciting that you now know where you'll be for the duration...and how impressive to hear about the amazing process that you have to ensure that you are able to assimilate once you get there...wow! Continued good thoughts...

  3. Thanks for the blog update, Deb! Love you.

  4. I can relate to the crashed hard drive! I had to get a new one and restore it; took a full week to upload......groan. Thanks for all that you are doing for Albania; your experience and knowledge are bound to inspire and motivate improvements and changes. Keep up the great work and thanks for updating us.

  5. Love your missives and looking forward to learning more about Albania as you settle into your post. Nutella -- sounds like a universal food ;o)