When I came to Albania I was leaving working at an art gallery and a nonprofit’s social enterprise re-use craft and raw materials store. I had been surrounded for a year by creative people, a pretty open-minded environment, and a surplus of art stuff. Arriving in Ksamil my grand ideas reflected this past experience. I wanted to inspire people to bring art into this beach village and re-take the government destroyed buildings. Big dreams that I see coming forward in the new volunteer, Ivy, now.
But these dreams didn’t work out for me. I didn’t quite find the niche because it wasn’t really there. Art is not the most common idea in Albania, and even less so in this village. This would not just be hey let’s talk to someone about doing something and they link you with the right people and it all comes together. It was going to require changing perceptions as well. Changing the mentality people had towards non-revenue activities that are a bit out of the box.
Still seeking ways I could make something happen, I researched the orphanage online and made contact in summer 2012. Starting small, I became a bit of a pack rat and gathered an excessive amount of plastic bottles and we paper mached and painted them. It was my first introduction to the home and the point at which I fell in love with these kids and started to see what possibilities may be. With two English speaking staff members, and a plethora of other active staff members, I knew this would be where I could make it happen. Several months later, here is what we have accomplished so far. Now that my big extension trip is ending, more and more will be taking place and further updates on the group’s progress.
My friend’s post about the opening.