Showing posts from December, 2012

Traditional Farming in Albania

In October 2011, I had the pleasure of visiting Albania for about five days with a good friend from Kosovo, Naim Shala. My purpose in going to Albania was to photograph, but I quite unexpectedly learned a lot about the traditional farming methods and organic agriculture that are widely practiced there today. Since I had not visited Albania since 2002, I was quite unprepared for the amazing changes that have taken place there over the intervening eight years! When I arrived at the Tirana International Airport in 2002, it was truly a "third world airport" - small, dirty, crowded, chaotic, and still looking very much the communist-era concrete block terminal it was when it was built by Enver Hoxha, the long-serving dictator of communist Albania. In 2011, though, it was totally different! This time, I stepped into a modern, light, airy, glass and steel structure that looked like it had been airlifted from Europe, replete with cafes, shops, baggage handlers, taxis, and all the

Soldiers and Plowshares, Farmers and Swords

In the Bible, in the Old Testament, a body of scripture held sacred by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, there are two verses that bring to mind the transition we are witnessing here today. Today’s transition really began on July 9, 2011, when South Sudan became the world’s newest independent country. However, there was an opposite transition some fifty years ago, before most of us here today were even born, when many South Sudanese began to take up arms to fight for liberation. Let us consider these two transitions and what they mean to us today. The first Bible verse reflects what many of your forefathers did in the face of oppression. In the words of the Prophet Joel, “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears! Let the weakling say, “I am strong!” Many men and women across the south, including many of your fathers and grandfathers, set down their tools and left their farms to take up the struggle in the bush. We are all here today because of their sacr