August 18, 2006

life is beautiful, life is curious

I was in the village the other day - down in Sheqeras in the south. I know it's poor and problematic in so many ways - but I like it so much, and it really is beeutiful. Life is like I imagined it to be back in my granny and grandpa's time on the Isle of Lewis, north western Scotland. There are carts and horses, always children and men and women walking up and down the dirt roads in and out of their own and their neighbours houses. I stayed with an Albanian girl and her mother at their house over night and had to go and fetch milk from the neighbours house before dinner. I walked along their coulorful flower lined path that led up to a sweet farm house. In the outhouse barn a lady was milking the cow, there was a little puppy chasing chickens in a chicken coupe that was outside in the yard alongside the haystacks. The young daughter in law invited me in the house and showed me her new clothes from Italy that her uncle sent over. They were all old friends. And afterwards we meanderd home. I thought to myself that this picture of life really is beautiful.

We travelled back the high mountain roads to Tirana. We got into a very small foogon that was heavy laden with a big barrel and all sorts of other curious contraptions. So Margaret and I squeezed in to the front with the driver and we whirled along - the driver told us he could get to Tirana in 3 hours and Margaret said - oh take your time we are in no hurry. It wasn't long before we stopped for coffee and the driver began filling up big bottles of water and putting them under the car. We carried on - and half an hour later stopped again - this time the whole front seat was lifted and the water poured out over the mottor below our seats. Turned out that the motor needed cooling down every 30 minutes and the car could go no higher than 50 kilometers and hour. We chugged up the high hills with heat and steam rising beside our seats! One stop I decided to look under our seats and saw a motor steaming hot with pipes and clothes and a big sponge on top of it and the water flowing on to the motor from the hose pipe the driver was splashing around! Along the way when it was really struggling the driver shouted "Janie, Janie!" to his wife and she took out this contraption and hosed in water to the engine while we were driving! Gosh - life really is curious! Took us 7 hours to get to Tirana but we enjoyed all the stops along the way - talked to the kids selling hazelnuts up on the top of the hills, enjoyed the fish swimming around in tanks at the foot of natural springs, we sat and looked out on a lake, ate at a cafe stop, almost burst out laughing so many times seeing the driver make a pile of metal and bolts work to its maximum. He worked hard! Once the junk pile wouldn't even start - so we rolled backwards down the hill as he hot-wired his own car! Little did we know what we were getting into at the road at the end of Sheqeras. Life is curious. There was a man in the back with Janie - and his young son. It turned out that he was visiting his wife who has a tumor. She is in the hospital in Tirana - awaiting an operation that they had no means of paying for. Margaret handed him the money as he jumped out the car, saying all the goodbye greetings. Margaret doesn't give out money like that - but no doubt God prompted it. Life is curious and good. Praise God for his care in everything.

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