Albanian Conferance
September 1st, 2009 by ron

We just returned on Sunday night from a very fun and enlightening trip to Tirana, Albania.  We were there for a Seniors Humanitarian Conference that lasted from Wednesday through Sunday.  It was both educational and a lot of fun.


On Wed. we spent the time orienting ourselves and getting acquainted with the other missionaries.  They came from such far -away places as Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Santiquin and Ivins.  On Thursday we started into our classroom sessions with power points presented by each couple to share what projects we are each working on.  We took field trips to a care center and an orphanage and to the local maternity hospital.  Each was such a touching experience.


Pic. #1:  At the maternity hospital we were invited into the nursery.  A beautiful, healthy baby was crying.  No one seemed to notice so Sis Schmoe, from Missouri, walked over to the baby.  She patted it’s back while I gently rocked the cradle.  The Dr. explained to us that this beautiful baby was born with no legs and that the parents had abandoned it at the hospital.  If ever I was tempted to try to adopt a baby, it was at that moment.  It just ripped my heart out.  I am sure that this beautiful baby will end up in the orphanage as soon as it is old enough to be placed there.  In the meantime, who knows?


The pics. with all the little children was taken at an orphanage.  These little kids were so cute and well behaved and just crying for attention.  Ron was the perfect grandpa for these little kids as Ron is missing his own grandkids so much.  The kids loved sitting on his lap.  Some of their parents have gone off to other countries to work and many stay past the expiration on their Visas and aren’t allowed to re-enter the country.  It is just so sad.


We also visited a local rest home that was so blessed to receive some new appliances for their kitchen as a donation from the Humanitarian arm of our Church . The sweet little lady looking out the window suffers from alzheimers.  She waved and smiled at us.  These people receive good care at this facility and are so lucky to have a nice place to live.


We enjoyed walking around the city and saw many unusual sights—like garbage cans full of green olives.  They smelled really awful and were for sale by the kilo.  At another location, a street vendor was selling sheep intestines hot off the grill—Ron was tempted but decided he better not!  We enjoyed walking around and seeing the sights.


On Friday, we were blessed to have Pres. Causse, first couns. In the Area Presidency for the Europe Area, come and speak to us.  He is also a member of the First Quorum of Seventies.  What a great man he is and we felt so blessed to be in his presence.  He is from France and speaks fluent English.


On Saturday we had a play day.  We boarded a bus headed for an old castle about 20 Km. from Tirana.  We stopped along the way for lunch at a nice restaurant.  The wait for our food got a little long so Ron did his usual thing—find someone to talk to.  It happened to be 5 men celebrating a birthday seated at the table next to us.  Ron was intrigued by the Beer on Tap in the middle of their table.  As they talked, we found out that they were the contractors that built that very building awhile back.  Before we were done, Ron and Bro Schmoe were sitting at the table with them for a friendly photo! 


When our lunch arrived, Ron’s steak was delicious but my chicken was so tuff ( I think they chased it a few too many times around the barnyard!) I could not even bite a single bite off of that old bird.  Ron was so kind as to share his steak so I didn’t go hungry!


The castle was amazing.  It dated back to the 14th century and was in really good condition.  I wish words could do it justice but there is no way.  Albania is a really poor country that looks very much like Mexico.  If I hadn’t know better, I would have thought I was south of the border.  It was really hot and very humid the whole time we were there.  Albania borders the Adriatic Sea.


We left the castle at 4:30 pm and headed for another interesting site.  It was a sky lift, a 15 minute ride up the side of a mountain.  Now, if you are afraid of heights, you wouldn’t have liked this one but I did OK until Ron started trying to make it sway.  That’s when I lost it!  Scared to death.  There is a Pic. of Sis. Schmoe and me in the Sky Lift car.  (The Schmoe’s are serving in Croatia.)  At the top of the mountain was another restaurant.  We went there for dinner.  Ron had Lamb and I had Wild Boar. Yes, Wild Boar!  What did it taste like, you ask?  It tasted like a pork roast with gravy.  Nothing spectacular but it sounded interesting and so I thought I would be brave and try it!  The Pic. sitting around the table is of all of us that attended the conference.


On Sunday we attended Sacrament Meeting before heading to the airport.  There is the cutest young man named Eddie that we met at the Czech Republic at YSA Conf. that lives in Tirana.  We became friends with him in Czech and so it was fun to pick up where we left off with him.  He just received his mission call to London England and is so excited.  It was so fun to meet him and his mom at church.  Eddie was also our tour guide and translator when we went out on our excursions around town and to the castle.  He is going to be a wonderful missionary.  The branch members were also so friendly and you can see that the work of the Lord is progressing well in Albania.  That is somewhat surprising because Albania is primarily Muslim.


They have an unusual way of doing their street signs—arrows painted on the side of the building indicate that it is a one way street.  Also, Josh, the 3-wheeled dump truck is for you!!!  Can you imagine only having one wheel in the center of the front of the truck?  We couldn’t either, but you see them all over.


We continue to enjoy our mission as you can see.  Who wouldn’t enjoy a 1 ½ year extended vacation!

Three wheel dump truckStreet signsSky liftSister Schmo and AnnetteRest HomePres Causse areaOrphans  (2)OrphansOrphansLunch Sheep intestinesLocal boys and beerHumanitarian MissionaryEddie and he's MomCorner in TiranaCan of oliveAbandoned Baby

3 Responses  
  • Cindy Larkin writes:
    September 5th, 20097:58 pmat

    Your story about the baby has me in tears. I would want to bring him home too. 🙁

  • cheryl writes:
    September 7th, 20093:17 pmat

    Aunt Net

    Can I adopt one of those children? My heart breaks for them.
    Love you

  • Elder and Sister Snow writes:
    September 7th, 20098:44 pmat

    What fun to read your comments about the Humanitarian Conference! We felt uplifted and inspired after associating with you and the others, seeing all the presentations and what is being done by Church missionaries in this area of the world. Just wish we’d bought that sandwich maker Ron had made a deal about. Hope to see you sometime somewhere again.

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