The creators of two exhibits on display at West Virginia University’sDowntown Campus Library want their works to open up conversations about life in Appalachia.
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I have spent the last three days with my family (distant and close) and was thinking about how quickly the places and people you leave behind transform. For some odd reason, you expect things to stay the same. I'm not sure why I have that perception, my life changes quickly. But I have always assumed that when I return home it would feel the same, it would look the same. But it never does. It always changes. The kids from up the holler are now in college. The dark-haired ones have greyed. The "little girl" I grew up with is pregnant with her third child. The names we once heard announced for prayer requests, have been laid to rest. Some have lost their vision, and others have found their voice. I'm glad things change, but sometimes you have to accept that keeping up with that change is impossible.
My mom sent me this treasure the other via a text message. I was going about my day, but this made me stop. Wow...I thought. What an amazing document to just be texted into your life. It's your blood line. Your family tree. Your roots. The people that made you...well you. I continue to be fascinated by my family's roots in Appalachia. Kudos to my Great Uncle Roy who created this beauty. I think I might update it soon...more to come.
We decided to take a Saturday drive through McDowell to visit with my second family. Ed got to meet baby August and Alan played us his new banjitar. Kudzu has covered nearly everything and more buildings have collapsed. I love that county and the people it holds.
"This baby is made of lead," Ed exclaimed as he struggled to get a grip on August.
My first day in Tirana was fascinating. We were lucky enough to spend the morning with Iris Elezi, of the Albanian Cinema Project, who introduced us to Maks Velo, an artist who was punished and imprisoned for his work during the communist dictatorship. We were so fortunate to gain amazing insight into this country's history through Maks and Iris. The people we have met so far and very genuine and serious-mannered folk. There are still remnants of communism all around (including this pyramid, below), but the city is also searching for its new identity as a free market.
Albania was the first country to be declared an atheist state (under the dictatorship) but since the collapse in 1991, Christian and Muslim practices have returned.
We also spent time with the folks at Tirana Express and a cultural critic here. Tomorrow, we rent a car and head North to Shkodër for a few days.
Great news: food and drink is CHEAP!
Filming for Humanity.