Whereas I had a rather difficult meeting with one religious leader this week, I had a couple of other, much more cordial and satisfying encounters as well. Both involved meeting gentlemen I'd met previously. One was at the same -- but not so smoky -- coffee bar I described earlier this week.
The temperature was almost pleasant, and most definitely unseasonal for this time of year here, so the bar's proprietors had the door propped open. That let fresh air in, thankfully!
The other meeting took place at the home of the man we were visiting. Last time he had his young grandson with him; this time he had the boy's cousin there as well. She was cute and painfully shy. The children's fathers both work in other countries, and both had come home to their father's house for the New Year's holiday, so SPC C, Mr. A (our Albanian-language interpreter), and I met them, as well.
Our host welcomed us warmly and graciously with food and drink, and I suspect we could have stayed there all afternoon, noshing and chatting. He even had one of the sons prepare some of their home-made beef jerky for us, by grilling it a bit on the barbecue.
It's decidedly different from the beef jerky so favored by Soldiers.
Fortunately, SPC C was there, and he was able to do us proud in the consumption department.
Our host brought out a photo of himself with one of the U.S. Chaplains from at least a couple of years ago, of which he was obviously very proud. After showing it to us, he almost demanded that SPC C take a photo of himself and me together.
I promised him I would get it printed up before we returned for our next visit. He beamed.
This is a very, very different place from where I was a year ago!
The chickens in these parts grow incredibly large, and have fluffy feathers even on their feet. What's up with that?
I suspect the jerky had been the rather large cow we'd seen in the yard on our first visit, but was not in evidence this time.
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ