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Schweizer Zeitschrift für die Zusammenarbeit mit Albanien
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Swiss non-profit Journal for the Cooperation with Albania

Journal Suisse pour la Cooperation avec l'Albanie


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Albanians in Greece

A text from a young Albanian who went to Greece, about his expectations and what he went through there

Since six years, the alive and sorrowful legend of the tiring trip of the Albanians to Greece goes on, the pilgrimage to their nearest »terra promessa«. The Albanians are hopeful when they arrive - if they do, because sometimes they are cought by the Greek police or army and are brought back to Albania. But the end is hopeless and sad: No job anywhere. In the years 1991 till 1993 it was very easy to find work there, because there was enough work to do and there were only few foreign people from the third world to work. Now, everything is changed for bad: too many people who are asking for jobs and, at the other side, only less work to do.

Except of the Abanians, there are many Poles, Rumanians, Bulgars, Russians, Ucrainians, Syrians etc. who have spent much more money than the Albanians to come to Greece. They have the same dreams as we have and so, the same disillusions and disappointments.

Before leaving for Greece, everyone of us has thought of working hard to put some money aside and to return happier and proud to his own family. But the situation changed suddenly, just after we have arrived. The worker's market is full of third world people as we are, too, who are playing day by day the same sorrowful act: asking for work to every Greek who passes by the worker's market. And if we find a job, we would work for only two or three days, at most one week. The work is finished and we have to find a other job, to try for a new chance. So, we are not only unable to put money aside to help our families, but we have to survive the everyday life in Greece by the little money we earned. We survive with the hope for tomorrow.

Some Greeks tell me I have chosen the wrong time to come to Greece in winter. They tell me: »You could have come here in summertime when the hotels are open for the tourists. You speek three languages and you would be prefered to work as a waiter at one of the seaside hotels.«

We have new friends: some Greeks who speak well English and help us as much as they can. They try to find work for us and invite us to their homes as their guests. One of them, Panagiotis, often tells me: &3187;We both are from Messogyios (Mediterraneum). Me and you, we have the same race and the same face.« The Greeks are very hospitable and friendly as we Albanians are. They help us to improve the Greek language. That is necessary for us to understand and to express during the work.

It is the first experience for me personally in Greece. I didn't bring home any money from there, but I became richer in knowledge and friendship.

Vassilis, who is working as a Greek language teacher in a primary school in Kallamata, helps me to learn and improve Greek. He is always friendly and ready to offer me his help when I ask for. Dimitris and Argyris are very surprised how fast and well I learn Greek. Dimitris tells me - joking: »My dear friend, you are born to learn and improve foreign languages, and they are born to be learned and improved by you.« And my close friend from Berat, Ardian, has helped me in Greek. He has been in Greece many times before. This time, we went together and lived in the same room at a small and modest house paying a small rent for that.

Greece! Most of the Albanians have put their ame and dreams there. A »terra promessa« of the end of the twentyth century. It was like this. Now, that time is over. In Greece can only be employed the people, who came earlier. In Greece there is only hospitality and no work.

The being back to our country is more sorrowful and deceptive. Our pockets remain still empty and our faces and bodies are weaker. But our hope is not yet dead. We are used to survive. For fifty years we lived in poorness. We survived. And now, for a little more time we have to resist. Because - I am sure of that - the future will be much better. And Europe herself must hear our voices from Albania. Except of working, we need to know more and more our continent, whose inhabitants we Albanians are, too.

Agim Likaj

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