Dibër (Albanian name) is about 6 kilometres from the Albanian border. I moved here in early December after swearing in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I had visited here a few weeks earlier, when we all got a peek at our new sites, our new homes, and met our counterparts. I fell in love with this city (more like a large village) when I was visiting, and this has continued now that I’m here permanently. I can walk anywhere, even after dark, everything I need is close, except for the school. But that is great because I walk 20 – 30 minutes each way, and I need that activity. Of course you’ll often find me wandering this city, sometimes getting lost, but always finding my way back again.
Dibër has a small one-way street running through the center. The traffic is usually quite slow. Along this street are such a huge variety of shops, no two alike, all pretty small. I never tire of this walk because there is always so much to see. And now there are New Year decorations up. This being a predominantly Albanian community (Muslim), there is no Christmas here.I have barely begun to scratch the surface of this place with my camera, or on foot, but I am posting what I have thus far. I hope these photos relay some of what has captivated me about being here.
First, there aren’t many Macedonian flags here, but lots of Albanian flags flying everywhere.
This horse drawn taxi had me excited for a bit. I envisioned, on a warmer day, taking a ride. But I’m told it’s not for carrying people, only things like refrigerators.Some days, the fog is really thick, and I wake up to see everything coated with ice and crystals, like the branches of this tree.
This is the ruins of an ancient mosque that is not being cared for. My friend, Qanije, said that she used to live in this neighborhood, and she would keep trash picked up, and would try to keep it looking nice, but no one is doing that now.There is water running continually in a lot of places throughout the city.The city is built on a hill, and there are interesting steps everywhere.There are mosques of different ages, some quite old. Others more recent, like this one, which was built in 1978.
This is the grave of the man who is the namesake of this mosque.
One day, I was leaving school, when I heard cowbells behind me. I turned and saw that a herd of sheep was heading down the street toward me. As I watched, I saw a lead dog, escort the sheep to the gate of the school, and then leave to scrounge for interesting tidbits on the street. The sheep flooded into the schoolyard, the rear brought up by two other dogs. Then the shepherd joined them all inside the fence, so that legitimized it. The sheep spread out, eating the grass. I laughed out loud!I’m so lucky to be here!