September 9, 2013 by theloneblonde
I have written a lot so far about the awesome stuff I have done during my time here, which don’t get me wrong it’s been pretty awesome. Though I wanted to somewhat paint a picture that things are just like anywhere else, there are a lot of ups and downs.
I have hit the doldrums of summer, it is hot as hell (up to 104). There is no A/C (well alright it’s in my office, but they won’t let me sit in front of it out of fear that I will get sick. My argument is that I am American and we don’t get sick from A/C, they don’t buy it). Sure you can go cool off at the river, but the bridge to get to the beach has seen better days, 100 foot drop in the middle with one wooden plank (think Indiana Jones, I will snap a picture next time I am there). It’s too hot to even think about food, or coffee, or doing pretty much anything. You want to curl up in a ball and sweat. There is no real escape from the heat; even my fan blows hot air. It is unbearable.
The water flows less and less, and my roof water deposit has taken to leaking and not working. Nothing gets done, nothing happens, you see no one. It is just too hot. Or it just goes off totally for three days at a time, or maybe refuses to work with the power resulting in rolling black outs for three days (fun times).
Though I still have things to get done, coffee’s to attend, people to meet, and work to get done. Sometimes I fail and step on some toes such as the other day I may have accidentally pissed off the guy who brings the Coke and Diet Coke into town. If you know me you know my love of Diet Coke is very great; I may be an addict. I did not know his name and he was upset that I did not know him and he told me no more coke. I almost cried. That would be horrible, there is only one store that even carries the stuff and he is the supplier. I don’t know what I would do! But I think he was just joking.
There is a shortage of many things in town because everyone is out of town, the suppliers are apparently not very concerned with the fact that the store has not gotten any deliveries in over a week. The shelves are looking pretty sad (though the fruits and vegetables are still plenty, I will survive!). The only place in town which has suflaque (Albanian Gyros/Donar) has been out since July and will not be getting any in until late August.
I have not had a peaceful nights sleep in weeks, I have even left town because of the noise that is in my apartment. It is wedding season, and don’t get me wrong Albanian weddings are pretty awesome. They are full of circle dancing and raki fueling nights. Part of the tradition seems to be to find the biggest sound system you can rent out and for a solid week blast music from your balcony from the hours of 0645-0200. There are often multiple weddings which means you get a dueling dasma (wedding), and they try to out do each other with being louder or starting earlier or staying up later. Sometimes the crowds will gather and they will play a song on repeat 10 times because the circle dance is still going strong, or maybe just because the DJ went to refill his raki.
With the slow work at the office I took the chance to take a little trip around the country and go help with some other Peace Corps Projects. Specifically with a project in Korca with my former training site mate, T. Who was collecting data at Beer Fest! Which involved finding feigners and of testing out all two of the beers (Black and Normal; both are excellent).
Working Hard at Beer Fest
After getting back it was festival time around here! I mentioned to some people before that my site is famous for being the center of the Bektashi faith. The Bektashi is a sect of Islam, that is very liberal. Their biggest festival is called Kulmuk, which takes place on the top of Mt. Timorr. It is a major pilgrimage of the Bektashi’s to go to the top of Mt. Timorr and slaughter a sheep. Every year around 7,000 sheep are killed over the course of 5 days. Because of this it has earned the name “Blood Fest,” which may be slightly un-pc, but there is a LOT OF BLOOD. We went and camped on top of the mountain for a night, during the day everyone makes their pilgrimage to the top and lights candles for their prayers along with meeting with the Imans (Bektashi Leaders). Then you slaughter your sheep and you get it roasted. Some of the volunteers banded together to get a sheep here is it’s story and it’s fate
(WARNING: GRAPHIC AND DEPRESSING STORIES ABOUT SHEEP NOT HAPPY ENDING)
I will leave you with some pictures of things that are gory and scary… There is a movie of this, but I don’t think I should subject you to such things.
After all the sheep are dead, you go watch bands play live folk music, drink raki and dance, and eat all that sheep you just killed (unless you have now just become a vegetarian… )
Sorry I tried to warn you.
Well I guess I can subject you to that little movie…
Animals were harmed, and died in the filming of this. Sorry, it’s traditional.