Sunday, 20 April 2008

Elbasan is my new home!!!

Dear All,

After one month living in the country I found out that I will be living in Elbasan for two years, which is the city that the training is taking place. Currently I am living in a village 40 minutes outside of the city but go into to Elbasan once or twice a week to meet with the entire training group and have technical training. This is the opposite life-style that I had imagined when I signed up for the Peace Corps. I had imagined living in a mud hut in a remote village teaching basic health issue to the villagers. Well here I am in Albania in the Mediterranean where I will be living in a city of 120,000 people with running water and electricity most of the day, working at the institute of public health. Our job is not to just deliver the health education but facilitate the health care workers in designing and implementing health education activities.

Currently in training my site mates and I are working on preparing health lessons for the 8th grade and kindergarten classes as well as a community lesson and a community project, all the while taking language lessons and trying to learn the language and culture. It is pretty busy but it has been fun.

I am very happy in my placement even though it is nothing like I had imagined. I began the process by leaving it up to fate. There is something so exciting about relinquishing all control over your future to the hands of a federal organization. I did not request a region or country to be placed in or where I would like to be placed within Albania. I would have loved to be in the middle of no where but this is going to give me an incredible experience for my future work. I am going to be doing exactly what I am interested in doing in future jobs plus the added challenge of working cross-culturally and in a different language away from any support from family or familiarity. I will be exposed to NGOs such as World Vision and build connections with them. I will also learn much about public health in the real world or at least in Albania’s world and get experience in completing health campaigns, working with vulnerable populations and with sensitive topics. I know there are many challenges I will be faced with and I will have to work hard to prove myself to my co-workers as well as to myself. Although I will not be physically challenged as I had imagined I think that this will be an extremely mentally challenging experience. I am excited to get started. Wish me luck!!!!

Love you all,


Shelly said...

Hey Two Shoes! I love your blogs...I wish you could read them to me in a very small tent. It looks like you're doing great and I look forward to a night on the town in Albania. Remember White A@# keeps her promises.

Best to you my friend,
Shelly a.k.a. White A#@

Tony Sorenson said...

Hey maggie, I am super jelouse of Vlore. That city looks amazing, with the mountains right up to the sea, it looks like a really nice city. I am glad to hear your having a good time. Well talk to you later and keep saving the world.


Rosaleen said...

i love you and am so glad you're having a blast, even if its not what you expected! Hopefully you'll still get a chance to explore the villages and perhaps learn how to build mud huts...who knows when that skill will come in handy for our future accomodations! i'm saving up to come see you! Love~ Rosy

Anonymous said...

Hi maggie
we love you and miss you.
love jessie and tim

Anonymous said...

Hey Maggie! I wanted to wish you a happy birthday! (I didn't know how to post a message without responding to your last entry) so yippie now we are both a quarter of a century old. Mike and I leave in one month for Jordan, and i'm getting so pumped, especially after reading about your experiences. also, we have been saving up a travel fund because i really want to see you in albania and hop over to sicily. are you up for an NMU reunion??

joyful girl said...

glad to hear things are well. we miss you in alabama. good luck!


Anonymous said...


I have been horrible about keeping intouch SOO SORRY!!

I hope all is FABULOUS!!
Much Love from Colorado--where I am living as a dirty raft guide