This is a true story of living and learning - being confused and comforted - with the excluded Ashkali people of Kosovo; an account of the challenges and delights of what happens when you find your community but it's a long way from home.
Hatemja, a rubbish-picker's wife, lives in the poorest community in the poorest country in Europe. When Elizabeth Gowing is befriended by her, the women learn with, from and about one another. How can you find the best rubbish pastures for scavenging? How can you free children to go to school rather than to go out begging? How do you then convince the local school to accept them? Can mayonnaise deal with head lice? How best to teach the 36 letters of the Albanian alphabet? How would Facebook help evacuate a family from a rat-infested hovel? How do you make baklava? And through it all, how do you maintain a precious friendship that's helped you find out the best you can be?
A wonderfully crafted story of how one person, with a big heart and a can-do attitude, can change the world...one child, one family, one mahalla, at a time...and then change many many more people, in Fushe Kosova and around the world. Elizabeth's story is one you read about with amazement- and you'll feel it in your heart. Read this and you will feel like you live there, with every muddy step, and your life will be changed after this journey to Kosova.
Wonderful and touching story
This is a really beautifully crafted book, with lots of interesting and touching stories, great and amusing details but also relaying the difficulties and struggles of a community of marginalised minority of Ashkalis living in Kosovo. It is inspiring, really nicely written, the author has a fantastic style that touched many cords with me. Most amazingly the book throws some light into the way of living of this community that feeds itself and survives, out of rubbish heaps. That starts to change within the book's timeline with the women producing and selling soap, children going into school etc. And the potential is there for even more change as the seeds have been sown, through education, looking after and guiding the community to make the right choices and think and position themselves differently. Great work and great book by the book's author and all the partners in their charity. Also I agree the model of volunteering has amazing virtues and brings amazing results!