Last night I went to dinner in the beautiful town of Shkodra, Albania with some friends from work. We found a fantastic pizza shop on this glowing pedestrian street. It is the most beautiful street in all of Albania, for sure. As we ate and laughed and listened to the music and crowds around us, a sweet young girl came up to us to sell us some nuts wrapped in paper. We said “jo zemer (no sweety)” but offered her some pizza. At first she made a face and said “jo” (no). We all smiled at her personality and she went on her way. Then she came around again, we said no thanks again to the nuts she was selling because we don’t agree to support children who are working on the streets — we don’t want to keep her on the streets, which happens when she actually comes back to her parents with money. So, we offered her pizza again, and this time she said “yes” with some attitude, but we loved it. She smiled and put an entire wooden pizza stone in front of herself with a piece of pizza on it. She got a fork and a knife and cut little bits at a time — so very proper. We started talking to her to learn that she works everyday from morning till night. She is 10 years old and has never went to school. She never gets to play, she only works.
She asked for a soda and we all smiled and said of course. When her soda came, she poured a little bit into her glass and then offered each one of us some. So thoughtful and sweet !
We soon asked to see her mom so that we could talk to her about ways to get her sweet daughter into school. The mother came over after her daughter fetched her, and we talked for a little while about school. Her mom said that she cannot afford books. And we told her about a brand new law that was passed last week that enables her to get books for free for her daughter. The mother was skeptical but we offered her help to go through the process. She was willing to accept our offer to help and it looks like together we might just get this sweet girl into school for the first time! Please pray for this situation … there are many other factors that could keep this girl out of school … so pray that God would make the way for her to go to school and that regardless, she would be protected every day.
This is a part of our here work … we work with the government to encourage them to pass laws like this one that provides free textbooks to the poorest families in Albania. Praise the Lord that this law was recently passed and now many children have an opportunity to go back to school. Pray that parents would learn about this law quickly and that school leaders would not succumb to temptations of corruption. Pray that the poorest of the poor would be blessed with these books and that all the glory, praise, and thanks would go to God!