Why Albania?

Albania...modern cities and ancient blood feuds...national boundaries and ancient ethnic hatreds...a diagram of the human condition
Author visiting border-town land mine victim Hysni Hoti

One year, at a moment of personal challenge, Deborah stumbled on a newspaper photo of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo fleeing for their lives over snowbound mountain passes in their city shoes. It was the city shoes that brought it home. The refugees, she realized in a flash of illumination, could be any of us, citizens of today trapped by ancient human savageries.

Haystacks in Dobrune Albania, near the Kosovo border
Idyllic Dobrunë in Albania, with Kosovo border just over the top of hills

It seemed urgent to her to understand what this meant to all of us who are struggling with what it means to be human, in ourselves, in our cultures, in our nations; urgent enough to drive her to visit Albania and Kosovo, to hike over high mountain passes into isolated villages, to learn enough Albanian that she could convince skeptical mountaineers of her humanity.

She is still a member of the Balkans Peace Park Project (B3P), partnering with B3P groups in Albania and the UK to foster awareness of and support for an international peace park at the convergence of the alpine borders of Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.