In celebration of completing PST U and our Language Interviews, Group 12 finally thought it was time for a little R&R together. In true tradition, our group went on the annual camping trip to Belsh, a small community 1 hour from Elbasan. After eating a late lunch in town, we began the “20 minute walk” to our campsite, which actually turned, into an hour hike UP the mountain. At the top, we had a covered pavilion completely covered with sheep poop, a fire pit, a beautiful view, and an even lovelier sunset to watch. We went to work sweeping out the pavilion, getting firewood delivered, and starting the bonfire. The rest of the night flew by and before I knew it we were snuggling up in sleeping bags on a comfy slab of concrete, only to wake in the morning with immense back pain and everyone desperately ready to be home again. We also awoke with 3 Albanians sitting outside the pavilion staring at us and herding at least 100 turkeys- what a nice surprise.
That morning, we began the hour decent and then searched the town for a furgon to take the 11 of us back to Bishqem & Pajove via shortcut instead of going back through Elbasan and having to transfer buses. We found a man driving a beat up orange tin can for a furgon who gladly accepted our business and seemed to be bragging to the townspeople shouting “11 AMERICANS!” and “PAJOVE!” After arriving in Pajove we found out why he was so happy, he wanted to charge us 500 Leke for a 200 Leke ride home since 1) we were American and 2) he took “bad back road that was hard on his furgon,” yes, the one that was already about to fall apart with the simple knock of a fist. After arguing in Albanian, we solved the issue, and headed to lunch. When we finished, the heat was sweltering and we were dreading the 40-minute walk to our town, but fortunately I found Luli wandering around and flagged him down for a ride home after a long night of camping before the last week of training.
G12 hanging out at the camp site
Our home for the night & the serious cleaning going on
The 11 eating lunch in Pajove after the furgon ordeal