This is the sponsorship programme started in Albania in the Spring of 2000. Homezh is a remote village situated high in the mountains of eastern Albania, about a twenty minute drive beyond our other feeding programme in Rodokal. The preliminary meetings we held with the village in 1999 are worth re-telling……
Homezh is the home village of the Muslim Hoja (Priest) for the area, who had been a source of major opposition for the previous five years. However, the village Mayor welcomed the Adopt-A-Child team as apparently many of the people in the village had wanted a feeding programme for a while. The Mayor promised the village would find a building and help in any way that they could. Interestingly, he also said not to worry about the Hoja, since he had lost most of his influence over the past years. A lot of it had to do with us being in the neighbouring village of Rodokal. All the people were very much aware of the Christian work we were doing in Rodokal, as were the children. There had already been village discussions about us, and he assured us that he knew the opinions of the whole village. There were only three families out of 250 who were not in favour of our coming, their concern being that the village’s religion would change. He went on to tell that the village was Christian long before it was Muslim and all but one family had Christian last names. Then he said, “Most of the people are eager to learn about Jesus and the Christian Faith.”
The children in the village have never known much love or care and live in very rough conditions, isolated from the outside world except by rugged donkey tracks. Social problems, malnutrition and poverty are rife with 70-90% unemployment since local uneconomic mines closed. Most people basically seek to live off the land, which explains in part their dietary deficiencies.
Both Homezh, Rodokal and the other two programmes are serviced by our facility in Pogradec, which is a town about an hour and a quarter’s drive down the mountains and about five kilometres from the Macedonian border on Lake Ohrid. Good, nutritional meals are prepared in our kitchens here and transported to the village in insulated containers, twice a week. The children can also attend the Bible classes after their meal, and our evangelists return to the village a couple of other days a week to visit the children’s homes and families, and to run activities for the children.