Earth Day 2007, phase one…
Where to begin? We’ll start with Earth Day (E Day) plans in Berat.
As you’ll recall, we had a discussion about volunteering during English Week. Later, during one of my after-school classes, the girls expressed interest in taking part local volunteer activities. I told the girls about our ideas for E Day. They were game.
I told my counterpart and she was excited. She was afraid that the students would not be interested. She felt bad asking them to do more clean up activities only to see the places trash filled again.
As I am writing this, there is some major drama outside. Some roma/gypsy people are really mad and they want to come into the city hall. Of course our doorman will not let them in. The roma are treated very poorly here. There is social prejudice but there’s also outright discrimination. Roma are usually refused social services and even treatment at hospitals. So they are mad about something and the discussion has escalated into a full blown shouting match.
Now nothing really gets planned in advance here. Our idea was to do an activity at a different school each day the week of E Day. On Sunday, E Day, we wanted to have a student demonstration. We started with the Artistic School because we wanted them to create a piece for display in the center of town. The vice director was very supportive and was planning to do something at his school anyway. We decided to have a meeting with the schools we wanted to participate so we could coordinate efforts between the schools and the municipality (my counterpart suggested this and of course I was all for it).
We manage to get the meeting together for the next day. The vice director from the arts school arrives late and then becomes a complete JERK. He took over the meeting and started making demands of the municipality. He wanted at least seven new trees, and not just normal trees that the city usually plants. He wanted expensive, pretty ones. He said he needed at least $2,000 for his school. If the city couldn’t deliver, he wouldn’t participate. Nice. Of course the city has extra money lying around for his school. After he disrupted everything and ruined our plans, he mentioned that he also ran a business on the side. Any guess what that business is? Yeah. He has a nursery that sells all the types of trees he requested. ARGH. What a jerk.
Due to funding and time limitations, we scaled back our plans. We decided to plant a few trees and flowers in one school (which was recently renovated and is across from the city hall) on Saturday and hold a simple student march on Sunday.
Friday rolls around and we still don’t know if we have the money to buy the trees and flowers. We scrapped the whole thing. My counterpart had been really really busy because she was in the final stages of the adoption process.
Oh well. There’s always next year. Plus Katie and I could still participate in Juliet’s Global Youth Service Day which was Saturday, April 21.
Our day in Kucove was also interesting. That’s where I got cranky. You’ll see.