Monthly Archives: June 2015

Hiking with Cammie in the Accursed Mountains of Albania

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The Brightest Light by Jona Bocari and Megi Hamza


Megi Hamza and Jona Bocari performing their GLOW inspired poem at GLOW Tirana celebration.

The Brightest Light

By Jona Bocari & Megi Hamza

When I was little, I used to wait excitingly for bedtime

When my mother read to me hundreds of stories about the princess being saved by the prince

And I used to close my eyes and dream about the day the princess would save herself

10 years later and I am still waiting

Not because there are no princesses in this world, but because 62 million of them

Will never get to sit inside a classroom

62 million empty chairs

Less teachers,

Less doctors,

Less leaders

Millions of girls that dare to dream about a reality in which they are their own savior

The old story continues on.

I see it in every magazine cover

And in every television screen

I see it in the faces of the people in this city

I see it in in the mirror every single day

“How to win the perfect guy by losing yourself in 5 easy steps.

And in 5 other steps become your own obituary’

“How to become an eye magnet in the streets of this city

Until you can’t even look yourself in the eye”

How to become




An open wound

A Baby factory

A Lynching noose

A surrogate in the background of your own life

The only person to stand trial for your murder

An afterthought

A statistic

A quota

A quota

A quota

But we are not just a façade

We are the architects of every generation’s foundation

We refuse to be treated as a property

We are the owners of our own future

We are not puppets. We are masters of our fate

We are not baby factories, we are pillars of courage











We choose to shine

We choose to change the story line

We believe in the dream of 62 million chairs

And in the education of every single girl in this country

In representation and voice

In every home



We are half of this country

We are its brightest light.

My car got stolen in Albania!

Seriously, not a line you read very often.


Val rented a car while she was here and we drove to Fier to spend the night with some other PCVs.  In the morning we walked out to the car and it was…GONE!!  Ku eshte makinan ngaz?  Suddenly I remembered a lot of Shqip.

An hour later, I was negotiating with Niko here to get teh car back.  Fier had started enforcing their parking rules in the last month.  There are no signs, no pavement markers but then this is Albania and everyone already knows, right?

7000 leke (about $50) later we were back on the road.  Driving in Albania is frustrating,  There are no signs and no maps and no one can give you directions because no one travels anywhere except to see family and they already know how to get to family.  How ever, Val and I took some solace in still having possession of the car.

Val’s visit

With all the flurry of the last few weeks I failed to post pictures of this most wonderful visit with Val.  We became friend years ago when I was in Boise.  She had seen the resident snowy owl and I had not.  I peppered her with questions about sightings and location.  She was gracious and generous as she tried to help my see the owl.  I never did.  This was to become our pattern.  Val can spot birds everywhere and anywhere.  I can be patient and persistent and never see more than crows.

Val arrived ready to work too.  She spent hours with PPNEA biologists, sharing her knowledge and passion for ornithology and wildlife in general.  We explored the Albanian coast as we scouted bird life.

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