Albania is both one of the oldest and newest countries in the world. Like a good family tree, it can trace it’s lineage at many archeological sites through many past civilizations to the oldest known gatherings of Neolithic peoples. Every group you’ve heard of, and many you haven’t, have fought for territory and built structures here.
And also it reinvented itself about twenty-six years ago, proposing to model what it’s like to be uncorrupted, religiously-tolerant, democratic, self-reliant, all-inviting, and peaceful. What is amazing is that they seem to be making good progress.
Over the last two days, we’ve heard and seen much, and asked a lot of tough questions. All of our guides have lived through the changes in their country, and their enthusiasm for the future is catching. Sure their childhoods were full of pretty horrible brain-washing, scarcity, and fear. Then they endured years of chaos and anarchy. But beginning about the time we were all frightened by planes and towers, they got serious about straightening out their country.
Today, there is a generation in their thirties and forties who are committed to making their dreams come true. Their parent’s brothers and sisters left the country when it got bad, emigrated to jobs all over Europe and North America, and sent lots of money home. That money fueled the rebirth of Albania, and made the downpayment on a proper country. For the past fifteen years, this generation has paid the price to live the dream.
To see all of the photos taken over the past two days, click on:
Tuesday, June 6th, Berat, Albania
Wednesday, June 7th, Vlore, Albania