Meeting the MAK 20’s

As I went out to catch the bus to Tetovo for my day with the new volunteers, I was surprised to see all the men of the village at the Xhami. I don’t think I’ve ever seen all of the males in my house up that early. But this is Bajram–a most sacred holiday–kind of like Easter in the Christian tradition where everyone puts on their new clothes and goes to church. When I got on the bus I was the only person on the bus until we hit Skopje. Kind of weird. I even got a chance to talk to the bus driver: “Where are you going? What will you do there?” Arriving in Tetovo, there were no taxis at the bus station–hmmm. Tetovo is a predominantly Muslim city–about 80%. As a result, there were many businesses closed and very few drivers working. (Should have been a clue to me!) We walked about two blocks to the main drag and there were a few of them there. So we grabbed one of the few that was working and off to the school to participate in the intercultural diversity panel.

Visiting with the new volunteers was quite delightful. They are all eager and ready to learn. Many had very insightful questions: How will they react to the fact that I am Buddhist? Can my same sex significant other visit me safely? How do I establish my independence from my family? Should I be alone with the host father? Do the women share their kitchens willingly? We treated the session like a conversation among friends about our experiences and had the room set up in a fishbowl configuration. It worked quite well. Had lunch with a couple of the older volunteers and then packed up to head home.

I missed the bus that comes to the village so I caught the bus to Saraj and figured I would take a taxi home. Bad idea. There is NOTHING open in Saraj and NO taxis running. And it is starting to rain. I’m tired! I just want to go home. So I call Faton and just as he picks up his phone, a neighbor sees me and recognizes me and asks if  I need a ride home. YES! Had I known about the taxi issue, I would have grabbed one in Skopje and gotten home that way but no……I’m trying to be thrifty. I guess if I had not gotten a response, I could have gone back into Skopje and got a taxi from there. I was just lucky that one of the villagers recognized me.

And I got home just in time for dinner and special Bajram bread and baklava!  Yum!

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A 60 something woman who has run off to faraway places with the Peace Corps.

4 thoughts on “Meeting the MAK 20’s”

  1. So happy you were able to share with the new folks–I’m sure they learned a lot!
    And finding a ride when you were wet and tired was a true blessing. It’s good to know the neighbors!
    We’re probably having our last mid-70’s week here. I think cooler weather is definitely coming.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m grateful, too, that you got a safe ride back. What a relief it must have been! The talk with the new volunteers sounds really neat; to be able to share very real insights to some of their most personal and pressing questions…it surely was so helpful to them, and probably felt so good to be able to offer. And Mmmm, baklava!

  3. Wow….thanks for information. It was really interesting. I’m sitting at LAX waiting for our flight to Newark, and then we change planes to go to Shannon. We were supposed to leave at like 9 but flying get was changed to 10… Boring waiting in the airport. Hopefully I can sleep on the plane rides.,,

  4. That would have been a vey long hike on a very dangerous road and probably in the dark as well. One might say that “Allah” was watching out for you and provided a ride just when you needed it so you could be part of the celebration with the family. Abraham figures as the primary character in all three religions that believe in “God” as the creator of all. We should all understand that we have a common history. His son, by-the-way was probably a young man at the time and not a child, but still his oldest son.

    You are having a wonderful experience in Macedonia.

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