Better and more entertaining things will be written in the future.  Just had to get this out to end the writer’s block.

Surprised by Evening
by Robert Bly

There is unknown dust that is near us 
Waves breaking on shores just over the hill 
Trees full of birds that we have never seen 
Nets drawn with dark fish.

The evening arrives; we look up and it is there 
It has come through the nets of the stars 
Through the tissues of the grass 
Walking quietly over the asylums of the waters.

The day shall never end we think:
We have hair that seemed born for the daylight;
But at last the quiet waters of the night will rise 
And our skin shall see far off as it does under water.

Elbasan Youth Council

 On Tuesday, March 25, the youth council presented their project ideas to the Elbasan Municipal Council.  Unfortunately I was too busy herding the council to take picture, and Prime Minister Edi Rama was in town, so news coverage had other (misguided?) priorities.  Happy to share that all the project ideas were unanimously approved.

Through our efforts, we have raised $450 USD to support the projects (special thanks to all the individual donors – more for you later) and the Art & Culture group has raised $700 for their Art competition which will take place on May 24th.

The Equity group presented to 8 schools and nearly 200 high school students on Violence and Bullying and the Anti-Drug group is wrapping edits on a PSA which they will play for classrooms and have secured a slot on a local television station to air, though the exact date hasn’t been confirmed. The Public Spaces group has gotten in-kind donation for the use of the public screen in the towns center, but dates for “film in the square” haven’t been confirmed.

A lot of the kids are in their last year of high school and “matura” exams are (hugely important) taking up a lot of their time.  Still I’m trying to walk that fine line of pressuring them to stick with their projects and put in the time and effort to pull them off well.

Rainbow Cities

A colleague and friend with Pink Embassy secured a grant to create six “Rainbow Cities” in Elbasan, Korce, Durres, Shkoder, Tirane and Vlore.  Based on a similar project done in the Netherlands and now other countries, it will take place in three phases over the next two years and seeks to increase local institutional capacity to meet the needs of LGBT citizens and raise local awareness and education about the rights of LGBT  citizens. See the initial report HERE.

Group 17

They are one day from swearing-in as full-fledged volunteers and going off to their sites.  Two new volunteers will come to Elbasan, and I hope to leave them as much information and material to ease the transition.  I will not lie, I have my own designs on what I would like to see happen and would hope that the Elbasan Youth Council and other projects will be a part of that, but each volunteers makes their own experience.  Good luck to all the players.


Group 15 members have already started leaving.  Last month I was feeling incredibly anxious about all the changes happening because I didn’t have a plan. I’m a planner. It manifested in a malaise about work, about writing this blog, about keeping up with things, about where I will live and do and whether Norman will be a part of any of it…and then I bought my plane ticket and all the pressure was finally off.

Now I am in a general state of contentment.  It’s coming to an end as it would and should and I feel ready for the next thing.