At week 10, I am feeling a mix of emotions, but primarily I am scared to leave my family and friends in my training site Bishqem. I know I am not saying goodbye forever and I am excited to move to my new home in Berat, but I must admit that above all, I was treated like a member of the community there and I am forever grateful. The most gratifying part is that most everyone I know is reciprocating the sentiment, and the last couple of weeks spent in Bishqem were filled with countless feasts in my honor. Upon my return from Elbasan each day, I spent countless hours in the houses and lokali’s around the community socializing and saying goodbye.
To thank our families for everything, the 4 Bishqem trainees decided to have a dinner for everyone at our favorite local restaurant the night before our swearing in ceremony. Because we are on such a tight budget, we asked for the meza plate without meat- meat costs an arm and a leg here. The feast started at 9:00pm, and almost immediately after being served our plates, the host dads made a small scene. They explained that we could NOT have a “fest” without meat and beer- and after explaining the lack of money, the host dads shelled out the leke for the whole feast- NOT AT ALL AS PLANNED- and insisted that it was not a big deal, and we should enjoy the rest of our night. Things wrapped up pretty late, but I have to say it was a wonderful farewell to all of our families before moving to our sites.
My host mom & I
Dinner with the local bar owner & his wife
Daryoush, Tyler, & I at the family party
Our host family dinner party at Bujari's