Location: Skopje, Macedonia
We moved to the ancient Bektashi-Muslim town of Kruja, Albania, in 1996, after completing a year of Albanian language study in Tirana. After the collapse of the Hoxha-Communist regime, the Albanian government wanted its citizens to learn English, so part of our ministry included teachimg English to middle and high school students. These students loved to sing in English, and one of their favorite songs was “Love Can Build a Bridge” by the Judds. “Love can build a bridge between your heart and mine; love can build a bridge – don’t you think it’s time, don’t you think it’s time?”
When we relocated to Macedonia in 1998, I saw, for the first time, a visual representation of the Judds’ song: the ancient bridge that crosses the Vardar River in downtown Skopje. On one side of the bridge is the modern Macedonian, commercial part of downtown; and in recent years the Square has been filled with numerous statues and monuments of Macedonian historical figures. On the opposite end of the bridge is “Old Town” Skopje with its cobblestone pedestrian streets, buildings that date back to the Turkish Empire, and several Albanian mosques. This side of the bridge is primarily Albanian and houses the open-air market of Skopje.
This bridge both connects and separates the people of this city. The majority of our ministry in Macedonia has involved Justice and Reconciliation issues. We continue to envision a day when LOVE will build that bridge, not of brick and mortar, but with true justice that will bring about lasting reconciliation among Macedonians, Albanians, Roma, and Turks.
This photo blogs comes from one of CBF’s retired field personnel, Shelia Earl. It will be part of a series of photo blogs by Shelia, documenting her experiences as a field personnel and travels now.