A while back I posted an entry Hope Against Hope that discussed corruption, unemployment and the general lack of hope that afflicts Albanian youth. An Albanian friend sent me several comments in response, which you can either read below or by returning to the original entry and scanning for the insertions in red.
“Corruption is seen as the number one issue facing the crucial life sectors including the health system, the judicial system and the education system. It exists in at least two ugly forms: having to bribe officials because what you are entitled to is withheld, or having to bribe in order to get what….is not right according to laws and rules — the latter having created a/n (un)culture of incompetence, arrogance and entitlement in the public sector and educational institutions.”
“[Young people believe] ‘the reality is unfair and no matter how hard you try, if you do not have the right connections and enough money to pay, you will not be able to succeed in the after-college world’ and ‘no matter what one does as an individual, one cannot change the reality and it is not worth being fair and living by principles.'”
More recently I posted an entry about the Albanian medical system, The Eyes Have It. The same Albanian friend responded by sending me the story below. Or, return to the original entry and scan for the insertion in red.
“Your reflections on medical issues reminded me of the time when my son was about to turn one. He had a bad topical dermatitis and terrible eczema on this face. The doctor yelled at me for being an irresponsible mother having allowed the situation to get to that point and said he was only considering my case out of mercy for the baby — had it been me, he wouldn’t have touched me. And, of course, he was the third doctor I was going to since the previous two had put me through a saga (like that which you clearly explain)! If you are wondering what I did…I simply cried and pitied myself and felt grateful that he finally prescribed the medication that worked.”