Brick by brick - how a new centre and a new hearth is built
By Elizabeth Gowing - Co-founder
Architects drawing of the new centre
Earlier this year I visited the former home of possibly the greatest Albanian man of letters, Booker prize-winning author Ismail Kadare. His apartment is now a museum and our guide took us into the study there to show us a very special fireplace.
In Communist Albania an open fireplace in a city apartment was a forbidden luxury so Kadare had to undertake its building with the secret help of a lot of friends. Any time someone came to visit they were invited to bring with them just one heat-resistant brick, wrapped in newspaper so as not to arouse suspicion, When enough fire-proof blocks had been assembled to line a chimney and create a hearth, Kadare put them together. And on the first day that he lit his blazing, cheering fire, he invited everyone who had contributed to come and warm themselves beside it.
It's a vivid image that has stayed with me as we've been assembling our centre over these last months. On GlobalGiving alone we've received 67 separate donations to build our 'hearth'. We almost have enough now to start building,
As Hysni Hasani, our co-ordinator in Fushe Kosove, said to me this week, 'I feel so proud that all these people want to help my community. It feels amazing that some of them haven't even met us, but they are still ready to support.'
Following the tender process over the summer we've now signed a contract with the Pro Construction company and they are ready to break ground. This week we've had meetings with some of the largest building companies and suppliers in Kosovo and three of them have offered to donate concrete, gravel, tiles and more, These donations don't arrive singly wrapped in newspaper but in the same way as Kadare's guests who came together to make something amazing happen, we hope that each of you who's contributed to this dream will soon be warmed by what you've made possible!
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