We were taught not to strive, not to think, not to do anything to earn money.”
One of our sponsored families shares their experiences.
Although it was 20 years ago, in Albania our impressions of the emergency of the Kosovo war and of the thousands of displaced people who came to our country are very much alive in our memories.
MWB was among those who helped, fed, clothed, supported and stayed near dozens and dozens of these people who settled in Durres as well as other cities. We heard stories of horror and sadness, of children who found themselves alone, of elderly people who walked many kilometres to reach safety.
Twenty years later, Durres was hit by this destructive earthquake that will remain in everybody’s memory for a long time… an earthquake that resulted in so many tragedies for many people, stories that are difficult to imagine, hear, or accept.
MWB staff member, Arjan recently visited the Dushaj family, who live in a small rented house in the beach area of Durres.
The earthquake found the mother and the two children at home, while the father was at work as a night guard in a construction site nearby. Arjan saw them soon after the earthquake, and the impressions were still very raw and fresh.
Eight-year-old Klevis, who is visibly still under shock, shared reluctantly, “I remember that the lights went out and it felt as if everything around us was flying. I was searching in the dark for my sister who was screaming.
“And then I felt mum covering us with something and dragging us out while praying aloud. And then we found ourselves outside, my mother protecting us with her body until someone moved her away – it was our dad. I don’t know how he got there so fast.”
The mother, Jonida, shared, “I remember I dragged my kids, covering their heads with my overcoat which was the first thing I could get my hands on and which MWB had given me a short while ago.
“We were practically walking on our knees just to get out of the building and away from a higher building nearby that was falling into pieces. I know I covered the kids with my body to protect them from the falling bricks.
“I kept praying and it felt as if I was elsewhere despite all the rumbling noise around us. When I opened my eyes, my husband was there, the kids were clinging to his legs, and a nurse had arrived, offering to help. The fire engines with their flashing lights were continuously passing by. God had miraculously saved us. Glory be to His Name! We spent the night outside together with other neighbours, feeding a fire with whatever we found around. Thank you MWB that you came here to check on us.”