Today was an awesome day in Shiperia. It was one of those days that reminded me that I am going to do great work here in the Peace Corps. Even though things have been really stressful these past few weeks I can tell that things are getting better again. Practicum is over and PST is almost over too.
I really have a great appreciate for women in Albania society. Things here are extremely different than in the states for women. Women do pretty much ALL the housework, especially more so in the villages where I am currently living. This morning I had the opportunity to speak with my host brother’s 18 year old fiancé about her life, how she feels about gender inequality in Albania, and other things as well. It was really reassuring the have over an hour-long conversation in shqip and actually understand what we were discussing. I asked a lot of questions and she did most of the talking, but it was very refreshing to hear her opinions because females in my community do not have much of a presence outside of the home. My host brother actually joined in on part of the conversation and it was cute to see their playful banter regarding the gender inequalities. Things are going to slowly start changing here in Albania. Nothing is immediate, but more women are becoming more educated everyday and they are speaking out and standing up against the differences. Women are going out and having coffee, especially in the cities. I want to show men (and women) in my village that girls can go out as well. All day my host sister, brother’s fiancé, and host mother are working. I admire them so much because they are all such strong women. Even though men are the face of this society, women really are the backbone. And avash avash things will begin to change.
I also had a great time with my site mates today. We were finally all able to relax since practicum is over and we have been having fun together again. Today we played Mulan, a popular Albanian card game, at the local ice cream shop/coffee bar. It is the only building in Pajove that we have found with air conditioning thus far – so that was a plus as well! It is already super hot here… I can’t even imagine what the summer is going to be like. And I can’t imagine what some of my furgon rides will be like because deodorant isn’t as popular over here as it is in the states…
Today I played with the neighbor kids as well and showed them some pictures from my old life. It was fun to play around with them again. The neighbor girl Siderla and I danced on the front porch together and it was awesome. She also showed me a firefly. I guess they are common around these parts, which is super cool since I never really saw any of those insects in Colorado. I am continuing to learn more and more about my community and the wonderful people who live here. I really do love Albania. There are definitely ups and downs to this society, but things are slowly changing.