A foggy, cold morning for distributions.
It was a wet, foggy morning as we climbed into the two Mercedes G-Class and began our trek. Many years ago, these SUVs were brought to Albania in order to help the Social and Medical Improvement (SMI) project of Nehemiah Gateway reach distant villages. Roads in Albania still aren't always great, especially to the remote villages, and the Mercedes have been instrumental in allowing the delivery of food and other items for people in extreme poverty.
Our end destincation was Niçë (pronounced Nee-cha), a village tucked back into the mountains surrounding Lake Ohrid, about a 2 hour journey from the Nehemiah Gateway center. As we slowly made our way down the one lane roads that had turned to mud, courtesy of multiple days of rain, we stopped a handful of times to pass out a few food packages to clients. One man, accompanied by his dog, rode on horseback to meet us at the main road; the way to his house was so muddy that even in the 4-wheel drive G-Class we weren't sure we would be able to make it.
The reason for this trip was two-fold: First, it was one of the scheduled food package deliveries that our SMI project does every few months. The second reason was for a specific family in Niçë. Ten people living in a house, five children, their two parents, their uncle, and their grandparents. Due to mental health problems in the parents, the grandmother takes care of the family. We intended to talk with them and find out what more specific needs they have. While receiving packages some food and higeine basics is helpful, there is so much more needed.
We arrived to the village, but the cars couldn't get up the narrow road leading to the house. Anything that we brought had to be carried by hand up a pathway that was a mixture of mud and manure. Thankfully, there were a number of us to help - along with the uncle in the family - carrying food, some matresses, and other various things to help make winter life in a secluded village a bit more comfortable.
Unfortunately, this story is not uncommon in Albania, and is almost the norm in the more isolated areas of the country. Large families in small spaces using whatever they can to live. Nehemiah Gateway has been working in the area for over 30 years and while things may look bleak now, they were far worse in the 1990s. The last three decades have been instrumental in making changes for families just like this.
It is through the kindness of people like you that has allowed us to help so many families over the years, and to hopefully help many more.
This project is ongoing, if you'd like to continue to help families just like this please consider making another donation here.
Communications Director, NG USA
A grateful recipient of an NG food package.
Roads muddied by constant rain.
Sharing chocolate with children in Nice.
A very common kitchen for many Albanian villages.