|Another part of Duf across the valley|
I often times forget how different this culture can be from ours, but every now and again I get a stark reminder. I was sitting the other day with a friend at Luli's coffeeshop when a little girl who was probably about 4 years old got hit by a car nearby. The car screeched to a stop as the little one crawled toward the sidewalk screaming. A man in the passenger seat jumped out of the car, scooped the little girl up, and it drove off to the hospital. A few minutes later a group of women, most carrying babies, emerged from an apartment building. A woman in the middle of the pack, the mother of the child, was howling, and they all scurried off to the hospital. A couple of days later, Elona and I talked about the incident. I asked her if indeed the people in the car, who presumably had no idea who the little girl was, had taken her to the hospital. Elona assured me they had and why not? She should be taken there immediately! I replied that in the US, if someone did that, they would probably be arrested for kidnapping, leaving the scene of an accident, and possibly hit and run. Once they got to the hospital, unless the child was in critical condition, which she clearly was not, the hospital would refuse to treat her without permission from the parents. Instead, the police and firefighters would be called to come, and the firemen would treat the little girl at the scene until an ambulance arrived. (This confused her until I explained in the US, firefighters were trained as emergency medical technicians.) The police would seal off the area and start investigating the accident and contact the girl's family so they could go to the hospital with her (I didn't mention that the little girl probably would never be outside by herself). Instead, in Gostivar, everything happened in about 3 minutes and afterward you couldn't tell a thing had happened.
On Tuesday I'm off to Southern Albania and the Ionian Sea with Luli, Elona, and my nephew Clark. We'll be near the border with Greece and plan to take the ferry over to the Greek Island of Corfu one day. It is supposed to be an exquisitely beautiful area, and I can hardly wait!