Monday, July 13, 2009

The Summer Camp Experience

I've made it back from camp and I'm alive!!! No that wasn't a main concern for me but I feel as though it is an accomplishment. The camp went really well and I'm really happy that we had the chance to do it. We left Monday morning about an hour late but only 5 kids got sick on the bus. The road was fine until we left Elbasan to head up the mountain to Gjinar. That's where the kids got sick. All in all we made it there safe and sound without any problems. The camp site was a lot better than I expected. There were 3 lodges. One was large with 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining hall, some bathrooms with showers, 2 meeting rooms a small chapel and a larger open space that we could all gather. Than the 2 other lodges were cabins that could sleep about 20 each with a bathroom. There was also a volleyball/basketball court and some open spaces for games.

Throughout the week we played all sorts of games. Most of them were group games but a few were individual. Some were games like capture the flag, darts, bowling and soccer but all with modifications for the group. Some of them were really funny to watch :) We went on a hike/picnic on Thursday which was great. We played a game on the hike up and then we found a nice place next to a mountain spring to have lunch. Luckily it didn't rain on us. On Wednesday, Hill, the Albania Peace Corps Director, came down to see how the camp was. He was impressed with the camp grounds, the diversity of the kids and the volunteers at the camp. This made me very happy. On Friday, we gave out a whole bunch of presents that the Red Cross had given us for the kids. It went well but I realized how greedy Albanian children can be ("I don't like this color.", "This is too big", "Can I get what she got?"). I wanted to be like, just take what I give you and be happy!!

On a sad note, this camp exposed me (again) to the bad manners of Albanians. For example, they don't say please and thank you. They talk over each other. They shout at the teacher when they raise their hand to be picked. They are terrible eaters (they don't eat the crust of bread). They don't respect their elders. The boys pick on the girls and this is acceptable.

Overall I was extremely happy with how everything went. When I got home I only needed about 3 days to recover. Thinking and speaking purely in Albanian for a week was exhausting!! Anyways, I have some great pictures and it was a great experience for myself and the kids. Now it's time for the summer to continue!!

Hope everyone is doing well. Miss you all!