Planting Hope

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For the last 3 months Jaru village, is suffering from drought without any rain. A woman recently told me: “This place is cursed.” It was the first time I had heard this attitude from a woman. During the following days I heard this more than 2-3 times. It was when I heard it a fourth time that I thought: Is it such? Jaru is a small village only 10 km from the city of Fier, one of the representatives of  the biggest centers of the south and only 15km from Vlora, a coastal city and the largest in southern Albania. What leads women to think these things in such a small village? Does the fact that in these three months nature is not generous and leaves them suffering? Why do women not think like they did 20 years ago when they raised their hopes to build a better life by migrating from remote areas in the north of Albania to come to Jaru. It must be great hope that makes you move from one part of the country to another part. Their Hope, in these last 20 years, was dashed by disappointment, absenteeism of their migrant husband, unemployment, suffering, discrimination and fear. Hope was reduced more and more but never disappearing totally. Each woman brings to the MWL Women Group a bit of hope that makes them wake up early every day, to fight, to survive, by working the land, caring for children and for other family members. They may even wake up with hope because they are one of the lucky ones who has a job in the city. In the meetings held in the MWL Women centre, the group tries to collect these pieces of hope and reflects on how they can reconstruct a new hope by doing something new and different. The women who work at the Flowers Greenhouse unlike any other women of the group are hopeful. Working with flowers is something very new for the women and they have committed themselves to bring this business forward. Only one year has passed since they started working in the greenhouse and the women have researched the market of flowers trying to find a place in it. They have focused on 3 types of flowers in this pilot phase of the business. The varieties of flowers in the greenhouse are still low in number. But these flowers have brought hope to the women and have made a huge impact on their perception of the future. Although living in Jaru can be quite challenging, I think this area is blessed with good people and beautiful souls who can find hope in the slightest sunray.