I thought I knew what I was going to post in the blog today – the next stage of the process is meetings. There’s a (growing) list of agencies, individuals, stakeholders, potential partners that I have met with, or have arranged meetings with. I wanted to share that phase of the project.
But that would be selling today short. Best moments of today:
(1) sticking up the alphabet frieze (bought in Pristina this morning at the shop where the owner threw in 3 books for free when he heard about the project – thank you :-)) and suddenly feeling that this room is a place where kids will learn things.
(2) Walking through Neighbourhood 29 to visit the six homes where we’d identified kids aged 9 or over, who aren’t registered at school, and who’ve told us they’d like to learn enough to be able to register in September. Gjelane came with me, like a chatty, giggly nine-year old advert for the idea. She held Vlora’s hand tight. Agron came too, calling out to people glimpsed across the public spaces (the rubbish heaps), ‘O Neighbour, your kid’s eleven isn’t he? And he’s not registered at school? Tomorrow: 10 o’clock’. And soon the message was spreading. As we walked through the mud drifts, squelched through the nappies thrown out on the waste tips you have to cross to get between homes, kids ran behind us. ‘Can my brother come too?’ ‘Is it for girls as well?’. Mothers who were stood gossiping in the sunshine nudged their neighbours, ‘ask her, ask her’ and we confirmed. ‘Yes, your kids can come.’
One 12-year old whispered to us, ‘but I can’t write my name.’ I told him it didn’t matter – that’s why we wanted him to come. So let’s see whether he does. Tomorrow: 10 o’clock. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach.
Gjelane’s story is now told in a book published as The Rubbish-Picker’s Wife; an unlikely friendship in Kosovo (Elbow Publishing, 2015) and available on Amazon