Hysni, Ramadan and his son, Ahmet
“The Ideas Partnership (TIP) really helped us in the very beginning, as we were settling in. To register the kids at school, we had to get ourselves to the ministry for paperwork every two, three days. It was them that finally helped us sort this whole mess out. They were asking for grades and transcripts and getting everything signed and stamped and nostrified, which would cost us a fortune. The Ideas Partnership helped us through it all: the documents, finances, problems. God reward them. They also gave us pencils and notebooks, bags, and shoes, and set the kids on way to school. One of our smaller ones is in kindergarten at TIP.”
I smiled. “And how many years has it been since then,” I asked.
“Oh, just been a few months.”
I was shocked. I was convinced that Ramadan and Hysni, who works for The Ideas Partnership, had known each other for years. Ramadan's family was so deeply involved with TIP, that I was not expecting to hear that they’d only been in Fushe Kosove since October. "10th of the 10th of 2018," to quote the exact witty chiming in of his child.
Ramadan, with his warm smile, who welcomed us into his small grocery store/coffee house, quickly brought along his son, Ahmet, who was the self-proclaimed "best footballer in the neighborhood." His dad attested to his success when they had been in Frechen, Germany, up until a few months ago.
He spoke of Germany like it was heaven. "Everyone is the same there" he would repeat. "The respect, the education...everything. No difference."
"Elizabeth even visited us there once." Elizabeth, the co-founder of TIP.
“Now we can’t even afford the participation fee in the football club,” he complained.
Hysni immediately set his mind to work and said he would look into it. In another instance, during the conversation, as Ramadan was speaking about how this small store is the sole financial support for 21 family members, Hysni politely asked to interrupt and used the opportunity to let Ramadan know that they had a new wave of clothes donations at the office. He suggested that the family could drop by later and see what they need.
Looking at Hysni like a big brother figure, Ahmet ran outside after we left, to ask if perhaps any of the donations included shoes. He pointed down to his sneakers that had ripped fully open and stuck to the mud.
"Hopefully," said Hysni, eyebrows knitted in worry, "Do come by later."