Monday, 27 March 2017

Gjirokaster, city of stone

Last Friday Ann and I got a furgon, minibus, to Gjirokaster in southern Albania. We left Elbasan at midday and travelled for almost 4 hours for 1000 Lek each, about £6.50. We travelled to see Jorida Doce a young

woman we have known for 10 years. Jorida was a teenager when we first met, but has been to University and now is the manager of a Christian childrens home in that city. Here is Jorida with Ann. We think that she is

an outstanding young woman with leadership gifting. She wanted to come on our Academy a couple of years ago but was not granted a visa. We chatted at length about the small church she attends in Gjirokaster and the tasks she is being asked to do and her hopes and dreams for the future. As we talked we walked through the old town part of the city. Gjirokaster is known for three things in Albania. Firstly it is a city built entirely of stone, which is sometimes then covered in plaster. Not a brick or breeze block in sight. Stone walls, stone tiled roofs, roads made of cobblestones and NOTHING, I mean NOTHING is on the level. You either walk uphill or downhill, never on the flat. It is so steep in parts that you can literally fall over onto the roof of a house, roll down the roof onto the roof of another house and so on. Secondly it was home to the best known Albanian author Ismail Kadare. I have read a number of his books which I have found very helpful in understanding Albania. And thirdly, it was the birthplace of Enver Hoxha, the communist leader who ruled Albania for many years.

This is what some of the buildings and roads look like.


After an evening meal together we returned to our hotel, and the following morning Jorida brought us back to Elbasan before she travelled on to her home in Tirana to meet her mother who had just returned from Greece.
On the Saturday whilst we were traveling back to Elbasan, Ilir Koçi in Elbasan had organised a get together for young people aged 20+ from Elbasan, Librazhd, Korce and Tirana. It was a part teaching time about relationships and part informal time for them together. Ilir and Rudina see this as vital in a culture and country that is changing form Muslim in thinking where marriages are arranged, to a situation where Christian young people want to marry another Christian. These are the kind of issues that Ann and I talk through with Ilir and Rudina in our coffee times together or over the meal table. It is helping to give new ideas, think biblically and work matters out practically for the benefit of the people and church here in Albania.
Now the end of another day and looking forward to what God has in store for tomorrow.
Ken and Ann


No comments:

Post a Comment