Arrival in Kruja

Trip Start Jul 23, 2007
Trip End Aug 23, 2007

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Flag of Albania  ,
Monday, July 30, 2007

It took about an hour to drive up to Kruja from Tirana- it's nestled in the mountains, so again there are great views- and you can see all the way out to the sea at Durres. When we arrived, we met and waved off the Leeds team, who were driving the minibus back down to Tirana. Then followed a somewhat formal orientation with Trev and Kaye. They are a New Zealand couple, both grandparents, who felt called to Albania so left their family in Oz/NZ and have been here for the last 9 years. Another kiwi, Debbie was there, who is in Albania til Christmas, and a younger Albanian couple Bertie and Ema who have just taken over the running of the church in Kruje. We sat around a table, and they explained what felt like 'the rules', making sure we knew that if we left a bad impression it would be them who had to clean it up... but no mention of us leaving a good impression! No tatoos/body piercings on show, no strappy tops, no drinking, no speaking badly of Islam. Some seemed obvious, some seemed a bit excessive, but I can see why they did it- evidently in the past people have been shocked by team behaviour and it's reflected badly on them.

We were given a -schedule- for the week. Couldn't be more different to Tirana- with times to be back at our host's for dinner, times to meet in the morning etc. Probably a good idea as we were all split into pairs to stay in various homes across the town. Lucy and I were staying the furthest away, with a fantastic family. Then they asked us 'Why are you in Albania and what are you bringing to the team/Kruje'- starting with me! Trev in particular always speaks his mind, which overall I think is a good thing. I felt quite stressed not knowing exactly where I was meant to be when- took me a while to adjust! But in the end we got sorted and went down to Trev and Kaye's apartment for dinner. As we had our bags, Lucy and I were driven through the town, which is quite small, and on a big hill- so lots of steep climbs for me and Lucy, being further up the mountain than everyone else! Our host was a woman called Xhemile (pronounced Jamelia), her 3 children Eni (16, v.good speaker of English and our interpreter), Bruna (13) and the cutest boy ever Rudi (8). Their father works in Italy to send money home- and only returns twice a year for a month's holiday or so, which I know the kids in particular find quite hard. They can't go out to Italy with him because they have to look after their elderly grandmother (79) who lives with them and cant walk that far. They are possibly the nicest family ever though, and Lucy and I are v.glad to have been put with them!
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