There is an Albanian saying: ‘Welcome is the best dish on the table’. Over the last month I have been the recipient of wonderful hospitality in many places and for this and always, for any person travelling, we are forever grateful. Throughout this time conversations have been flowing around innumerable tables, seeing beauty in the natural world in which we live, local story-telling, reminiscing and frequently joining the rest of the world in trying to find a solution to painful world issues. This week I am back to another reality here in Albania and have travelled to Saranda; here there is a stunning sea coast that is open to thousands of tourists every year. As in many other tourist parts of Albania, Mary Ward Loreto Women are extremely busy making crafts to be sold in the tourist markets as a way of welcoming the stranger to these shores and for economic empowerment. The question is: why are some of the most famous markets at heritage centres closed for these and many other industrious sellers who want to make Albania more welcoming by the beauty created at the hands of the people? In Butrint the British Foundation wrote in their contract that the local people were to be engaged in this centre. They desired this involvement as a matter of justice and to share local culture with the tourists. We have an election in two weeks. Is the nose in the ground by decision makers? Every year there is some problem created until eventually the markets are open – too late- but trade goes on. We continue to talk, to puzzle about such injustice.
Wishing you a very happy Summer time!
Imelda Poole IBVM (President MWL)