Let me share with you 5 facts about where I live:
It’s hot in the summer and even hotter in your house.
It’s cold in the winter and even colder in your house.
You may or may not have water – especially during the summer months.
–Because of this you may or may not be able to wash dishes, clothes, yourself…
There are no parks for kids here. Instead they play in the road which used to be ok until they paved the main road and now there are many many cars who go as fast as they want in any lane they want (though to be fair, there are no marked lanes anyway…)
There is no place to go for fun. The girls and women visit each other or just clean the house from top to bottom all day (the latter definitely [not] my idea of fun. The men have more freedom to go out but they usually go to the lokals and drink raki and coffee. During the summer, however, many people do like going to the beach!
These are some of the things that make life here harder for me. You have to work harder to live here.
A couple weeks ago, an organizaton called World Vision came to talk with our teen group. They are looking to start some self-sustainable development programs in the Kenet and wanted to hear from the community before they came up with any programs. The teen group was one of many meetings they held to hear from different people from different ages.
The facilitator asked the kids what were some of the problems in the Kenet. They didn’t really have much to say. One teen mentioned as a kid, not having a lot of stuff to do or a place to go and play that’s safe for kids (most of the teens started out in the village).
Then someone said something about not having water. The facilitator was surprised. He is Albanian but where he lives, running water is always available. The teens said that not having water isn’t really a problem. If you don’t have water, then you don’t have water. Simple as that. You just wait until you do have water. They’ve learned to deal with it. Or should I say, without it.
When asked about what they wanted in the Kenet, one kid piped in and said wireless internet. He wasn’t kidding. He and probably most people here see not having internet at a bigger problem than not having constant water. Why? because they’ve learned to live without water. It’s been this way their whole lives. They don’t know what life is like with 24/7 access to running water.
Me? I know what life is like with lots of running water. I’d choose that over wireless internet any day…well maybe not the days I don’t shower! (kidding kidding!!)
So when I say the list above are things that make life harder for me here, I really do mean for me. Albanians in the Kenet have learned to deal with these things. It’s part of their life. Our problems are all relative. Relative to our past, to what we know, to the life we’ve lived.
I know a lot of times I want people to see my problems through my eyes. But really, I need to be seeing my problems through their eyes. Because chances are, they won’t actually be problems. It’ll just be a way of life. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn to deal with it.