Christmas at Saint Mary

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December is the month of joy and surprises for all children around the world. It is the month of wishes, dreams and of course, hopes that all these wishes and dreams are going to be true. This is the atmosphere in big cities: full of lights, red and green colors, sweets, fireworks and bells. What happens in faraway villages? Is it the same atmosphere that children wait to enjoy impatiently? Do they receive their presents if they behave well?  Does the Santa have time enough to visit them one by one?

Yes, this year yes…

A group of 30 youth from Kurbin Area Development Programme (ADP), in collaboration with World Vision, took a Christmas initiative. They distributed presents for 250 children and some basic food, worth 3,000 Albanian lek (29.50 US dollars), for 138 families in five villages: Saint Mary, Skuraj, Gallate,Shkopet and Vinjoll.

In addition to the presents, children enjoyed cartoons and the parents discussed positive models of parenting.

“The purpose of all this is to give these children and their families the opportunity to feel the warmness of Christmas and, of course, to raise the public awareness that this period of year it is not just celebration, but is the best moment to show our Christian values by helping the others and by making them to feel equal with every child on Earth,” says Edi Markaj, manager of World Vision office in Kurbin.

“The most interesting thing is that the idea came from the youth of the area. In this initiative were involved a lot of youth volunteers, everyone wanted to contribute, so we divided them in groups for each village we went,” adds Blerina, a World Vision staff member.

And Santa’s travel begins…

Saint Mary is a little village with houses apart from each other. The road to go there it is very difficult, but if you are a country lover, you may like it. On the road, habitants of the area see the cars with the World Vision logo and they wave their hands and smile to us. It is impressive to find such friendly people in this harsh environment. 

After an hour of traveling we arrived at the school of the village. Our two cars and the joy and energy of the group of youth fill the quiet air of the village. The school seemed so quiet from outside, but when we enter everything changes. Children look so happy and excited when they see that Santa is in their school, and not just one Santa, but five of them.

The youngest of the school are the most exited. They see us with their surprised eyes and when one Santa asks them about their wishes, they all start to talk. Their answers are the answers that you can hear from every child: cars, robots, teddy bears, bicycles, balls to play football and for most of the girls a Barbie doll. 

Aneta, a 9-years-old girl, says to Santa, “I want a Barbie for Christmas.” When she opened her present and she found a beautiful doll there, she was speechless, but the look in her eyes and the softness she carried the doll said a lot.

During the distribution of the presents there was a lot of noise, smiling and happiness. Each child wanted to have a picture with Santa, a picture to remind them this day and the fact that Christmas once came to them.

“It is so rewarding feeling to see them so happy,” says Valmira, a World Vision staff. “It is a feeling that helps me understand why we do what we do, and for Christmas everything is more powerful because Christmas is … Christmas.”

News Source : Christmas at Saint Mary

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