Blog: Everybody needs good neighbours

The COVID-19 lockdown has given Laura Naw, a volunteer for a Slovak NGO in Albania, the chance to get to know her neighbours.

Laura's neighbours in AlbaniaLaura's neighbours in Albania (Source: Laura Naw)

Laura Naw is a volunteer project manager in Albania for ADRA Slovakia, a non-governmental organisation in Slovakia with 27 years of experience in implementing humanitarian, developmental and volunteering projects for those in need in Slovakia and abroad. ADRA Slovakia aims to help people lead dignified and free lives while better preparing them for a possible humanitarian crisis. The Slovak Spectator will publish more blog posts from ADRA volunteers in the coming weeks.

Read moreBlog: We can't close our eyes to the inequality accentuated by COVID-19 Read more 

This morning, I woke up and had a healthy breakfast with muesli and fresh natural milk that my neighbour gave me.

I have always seen those bottles of Coca Cola, Fanta, etc. filled with white liquid (which I now know is milk) on the streets of Tirana. Although I have always been attracted to them, I never found the courage to buy one.

The lockdown gave me the chance to get to know my neighbours better, even though we have been living next to each other for six months already. I've now discovered what amazing people they are. I don’t remember how the affinity among us started. For the six months that I have been here, I haven’t seen them often due to my work routine, different lifestyle and so on. Whenever we met, we just greeted each other politely and that's all. And now?! They are feeding me with delicious food. The photos you can see aren’t at all exhaustive. I received countless marvellous traditional Albanian meals!

Their children, aged 5 and 7, often come down and play with me. We play hide and seek, catch, and games with a ball, but I also have time to chat with their mom.

Maybe it started some weeks ago when I repaired a deflated wheel on the bike of the oldest child. Since all the shops were closed, I offered to help since I have all the necessary tools. It was an amazing success, and we established a relationship!

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It is so sweet. Sometimes when I am in my living room working on my laptop, I can hear a tiny voice calling, “Lauraaa”. I run straight away to the yard and see the oldest child with a dish of something delicious.

I know their names now. Yes, it was shameful that I didn't even know their names before, or at least made the effort to remember them.

I am thinking of returning the gesture by making a pizza. It’s a throwback to my childhood, when I always helped my mum to prepare pizza or cakes, but that was a really long time ago.

I’ve only given it a go twice during the quarantine period. The first attempt was a total failure. The pizza mixture didn’t even rise due to the lack of yeast (but this is another story). Yet, I will return the favour for sure. But, let’s see if it will be a pizza!

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