7/10/11 : Hopeless

This week, I met with the Director of Water at the Municipality office here in Skenderaj.  The director and many others have worked hard over the years to clean up Skenderaj by providing some larger waste containers on the streets of the city for private residences and businesses.  However, this is not a cultural norm to which the people are accustomed, so this tactic is rarely used/taken advantage of.  The socially accepted normalcy here is to simply throw trash in the rivers.  As long as they don’t see it, they don’t think it exists.
            The director and his employees have also experimented with recycling.  Bins for plastic and glass were placed next to the bigger trash containers within the city.  Each bin was properly market “Plastic” and “Glass.”  However, because of cultural norms, these bins were never distinguished one from another; they simply became more general trash bins.  Because of this, the city has terminated any further use of plastic and glass containers.
            Financial disparities here in Skenderaj have resulted in the town not being able to afford to properly dispose of its waste, or become efficient in its usage.  This not only causes pollution of the town, it grossly pollutes the water.  There is trash on every bank, before and after Skenderaj.  The tiny village we are working in is just south of Skenderaj.  You can imagine what their water quality is like.  From trash disposal, to bathroom use, this river is almost past the hope of recovery.

7/3/11 : In the Nothingness

            For this week, I decided to copy a specific entry from my journal:
        I chuckle on the inside as I hear my sister say "What are you...a tree hugger?  Stupid hippies..."  Unaffected, I think of how life is so much more peaceful and glorious in the moments furthest away from our “societies.” 
      The power is out (again) and it is almost 8:00pm.  Just got done with a little yoga, nice and relaxed.  I though “Well that’s a bummer, I cant watch a movie tonight or talk on skype.”  So I brought out my book and began reading a section of two friends hiking down into the Grand Canyon.  As I became fully enveloped in their moment, I didn’t even realize the rain.  In an instant, a torrential downpour began outside, swooshing over the land.
      I went over to my door-sized window that opens all the way, and sat on the sill.  I intended on reading till the last glow of the sunset permitted, but I was soon distracted from my Grand Canyon Adventure.  As I sat, I heard another intern sitting on his balcony, playing the guitar and singing unfashionably loud and unashamed of the awkward pitches coming out of his mouth.  I began laughing out loud at this, but quickly covered my mouth as to keep my presence a hidden secret.
      “This is it,” I thought to myself, “this is the exact moment I have been looking for and striving towards my entire life.  I have no idea how I got here, or why it was this very moment that I realized this.”  All technology gone, all communications lost…it was just me, the rain, the lightning and the thunder, visions of the great depths of the Grand Canyon, the rich sounding guitar, and peace.  Joyful, content peace.  Like I’d never felt before.  Happiness is temporary and a short-lived high.  Joy lasts through the morning, enticing peace in every adventure of this thing we call life.
      I have finally stopped thinking about how my life should be lived, and am simply living this simple life.