Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First Meeting with an NGO

 On Monday I had my first meeting with an NGO. АкцијаЗдруженск (Aktija Zdruzhenska for those who don’t read Macedonian.) They are working on strengthening the women’s movement in Macedonia and see themselves as a sort of watchdog agency for the government.

But first the story about Getting to the NGO. I realized when I was looking up the street address to give directions to the cabby and THE ADDRESS DOESN’T EXIST! No where. Not on Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, a printed city map. No where. So I send them an email requesting help and haven’t heard back from them so I called and they said just to give the taxi driver the address and he will find it. I’m all ok…you guys know the drivers better than me. So I go find a taxi (which in and of it self was hard, they weren’t in their normal spots, so I had to walk a bit to find one). And tell the guy the address. He goes, where? I repeat it and then he asks to see the address that I am reading. Well it was in Latin script and he is all, huh? So I offer to call them and see what they say and give him directions. After getting the directions from the NGO. The taxi driver starts up a conversation with me about where I am from and what I am doing in Skopje, etc. It was nice to practice my Macedonian with someone who would never care if I did it mess up or found silly. However, I was able to tell him that I was funded by the US embassy but not working for it and that I would be here studying for 9 months and that I liked it here and the people were super nice. Then we arrived.

We spent about 2 hours talking about the general situation of women in Macedonia. I have some great quotes and lots of more info about the actual situation- since most of the books a few years old, or the fact that I have just started looking into it. Then she had to leave to go actually meet with some government officials. However, they don’t have anything that I can actually do with them. Since they are more of a watch dog type organization, they don’t actually serve (in the true sense of the word by providing services) the women of Macedonia. They do it by looking out for their legal rights.

Then I took a taxi back to the apartment (had no idea where I was and then when I figured it out, there was no way I could walk!) ate lunch and went off to do research at the institute for a few hours.

I stopped by the American Corner (see link off to side) to drop off the book and movies I checked out last week and got roped into staying for the lecture about 1.5 hours later. It was interesting the 20 questions you should ask yourself before starting your own business. Given by a Peace Corps lady who had started her own tutoring business in the states.

Nevenka, Erin and I went out for coffee, well I had that melted hot chocolate and discovered that almonds and pistachios are ok (almonds more than pistachios and so not chickpeas). But then it was back to the apartment for bed rest.

See you around the globe!

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