Friday, May 27, 2011

special olympics

I can't do this event justice. I'm discouraged by the thought of attempting to capture the magical awesomeness of this event. Part of me wants to post a pic and call it a day, but that wouldn't be fair to you. So i'll give it a go...

This year I worked with team Lezha from the Qendra TrĂ«ndafilat (center in Lezha). I have worked with these contestants and staff members, intermittently over this past year. Vodafone sponsors this event and little events year round, thus I have met many of the vodafone employees as well. I loved walking into the event and recognizing so many of the people there. It makes Albania feel like home. 

Anyhow the contestants played basketball, soccer, and participated in running and bowling. We had a big dance with the contestants the second night, which in all honesty, was the most fun I have had in a year. 

A group of Ambassadors including the American Ambassador, Arvizu stopped by the event for an hour to meet the volunteers and contestants.

The volunteers were both American PCV's and Albanian "Animators". It was impressive watching the Albanian volunteers who were new to working with special needs children. By the end they all looked like pros. One volunteer from shkodra, became a super volunteer in 3 days. He led cheers, games and was a morale boost for all.

This year was much more enjoyable for me because my language has progressed significantly. It was less stressful because I was able to communicate/ understand what was expected of the volunteers. It was definitely a tighter group of people this year, we all bonded over the course of the event. It was sad to say goodbye to such an amazing group. 

I've also come to the conclusion that volunteering is addicting. 

Overall this was an amazing event, I hope to partake in Special Olympics in America when i return. 

here are a few photos!

Volunteer Photo

My team! (FYI albanians don't smile in pics)

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