Just a few photos of some of the buildings here. First a traditional Turkish style home, now the Ethnographic Museum here in Elbasani. Traditionally Turkish homes were 2 or 3 storey buildings. Animals, storage and workshops on the ground floor with living space above. There are separate rooms for men and women to sit, entertain and eat, but a bedroom of course. And then a large wide airy balcony where one sits in the heat of the day. Turkish mosques are of similar design here that is to say they look like a house with no minarets. Minarets have been added only in recent years and look completely out of place in the overall design of the building. Now pallati, multi storey high rise blocks of flats are going up everywhere. Sadly there seems to very little thought as to there positioning. It seems it is all about making as much money as possible out of one piece of land. And then a photo of the church building that is going up. You are seeing part of the ground floor with windows, doors, electric fitments, plumbing, tiling and painting yet to be done. Work is done as money comes available, though they are hopeful it will be complete and ready to use by the end of the year if not sooner. The local cement factory has just donated several tons of cement that they will deliver! When I went yesterday they were fixing levels using the reliable but slow method of a plastic tube filled with water! No spirit levels or more modern means are available here. Credit to them though for working in the heat. It was 32C yesterday and humid with it. I spent time talking with the leaders about their building, some suggestions as things to think of, ways of doing things, keeping the vision before the people, praying for money and so on. They expressed their gratitude to me which I felt was entirely genuine. I love new experiences! God is a God of surprises and freshness. New places, new people, new ways of doing things. Here is a new fruit we had never come across before. Mushmulla! We have no idea what it is called in English. It is fresh tasting and is available now at the same time as cherries. It has 2 or 3 quite big stones inside which I have kept to try and grow. Now to try out the local swimming pool and cool down, if we can find it! We have been told it is very good. Ken and Ann
Some of the varied Books I've read recently in no particular order....
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. Another one of those books I wish I could have read 20 years ago. Excellent about how to achieve organisational health.
The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware. very helpful in helping to understand Orthodox history and thinking. The Orthodox Church is the main church in Serbia and Macedonia.
Austria-Hungary and the orgins of the first world war. Helps with the historical background to the Balkans. The Powers at work then are still at work today, politically, economically. Samuel R Williamson Jr
Bradt Guide to Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia etc (excellent and sometimes the only guides avaiable for lesser known countries)
Jesus through Middle Eastern eyes. Opened my eyes to see the Gospels in a new way. Kenneth E Bailey