Monthly Archives: April 2014

Formuni Gruas Elbasan

Albania passed a series of laws in 2011 that made spousal abuse illegal. Today I attended a conference where social workers were trained on how to implement parts of this new law. Watching this powerful transformative work, I am in awe of what is being done here.

Albania is a male culture, so much so that I make sure I am home before dark.  I sit next to only women on the furgon and I never even acknowledge men on the street.  To do so would invite harassment at the very least.  I type this as I sit in a café owned by my host family.  I am the only female and can only do this because I am under the protection of my hosts.  This is simply the way Albania has always been.  Yet, the NGO I was with today and other NGOs through Albania are steadily changing that reality.

Check out Formuni Gruas Elbasan at www.forumigruaselbasan.org

The training conference today was equally split between men and women.   This is a series of trainings reaching across the region and being replicated by other partner NGOs.  FGE is not just targeting women.  They recently completed a series of community forums where discussions in which men and boys spoke to other men and boys about violence in the home.  Domestic Violence is a wicked problem even in the US.  Public awareness is the first step on a long journey but I am moved by how committed some Albanians are to that journey.

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Foiled Martyrdom

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageI joined Peace Corps thinking I would be living in an African hut far from plumbing, electricity and WIFI.  I would then graciously accept all the compliments about how selfless and caring I am.  I would fuss a bit about the hardship but would rise to the struggle.  Bonnie d’Arc of Africa.  Instead I find myself plagued by chronic inconvenience and am embarrassed to even admit the many minutae that annoy me here.

With that confession out here are pictures of my Posh Corps living situation.