Safety on the streets of Tirana, Albania

That day I finished work around 5 pm. As it often happens after work, I met with a friend and had a nice chat in front of warm cup of tea. We sat in the fancy part of the city where mostly foreigners used to visit. From that part of view, city looks pretty safe and that everything is going ok, which gives a whole (would say wrong) impression for the country as well.

As part of society we forget that is only a superficial opinion, partial and only the top of iceberg. The area around just a bit outside of that central part will give another impression, like you are opening another chapter of a different book. Tirana I might say is an alive city, people enjoy drinking (not getting drunk), chatting, laughing and sharing a lot of joy with each other.

Everything was looking so peaceful until I left this environment not later than 7 pm. I was walking with my friend enjoying the fresh air together until certain spot where we had to say goodbye and take different directions. Steps became faster, walking was becoming running until I reached a crossroad where I have to turn on the left to go towards my home.

My best company while I am alone is my radio-music from my phone, which is with me most of the time when I am by myself. Unfortunally the battery of my phone had died, so the phone was turned off, couldn’t help me to listen my music. I felt that my routine was broken. Even the streets didn’t follow the same routine.

Electricity, as it often happens in Albania, had gone. The whole street, approximately 1 km length was without light, I could almost see nothing, only the lights of the car coming up or going down.

The lights helped me to see, going on walking, but on the other hand woke up a lot of fears on me where I could see only couple of guys, men gathered in different corners of the neighborhood. My imagination those moments knocked only in doors of thriller scenarios’. I wanted to call somebody in my family to come and pick me up but my phone was already turned off.

I tried to calm myself and speeding my steps that was only 800 m, 600 m, 400 m… left. Men and guys seeing during that walk was scary, insecure, powerless. I am an agnostic person, didn´t know where to pray God or Nature… My thoughts were unorganized, dark has covered not only the street but my mind as well. Fortunally I was only 20 meters away from home, everything went fine, passed by the last corner and opened the door of my house.

I had to light a candle and tried to cover with blankets to warm up a little bit, soul and body. I was just feeling lucky that nothing beyond that happened, even if the fears were almost killing me. The problem is not only the dark, but the trust. We don´t have any trust that if something can happen police could interact. Safety of walking alone, on the streets as a women in the dark, not in central part of the city, in Tirana is very weak… even if it is 7 pm in the afternoon. We need to work out, make a better situation, offer a safer place and help ourselves as women to feel relaxed walking in the dark.

Julina Canga

Stöd Kvinna till Kvinna! Vi stärker kvinnor i krig och konflikter för att kvinnors makt och inflytande ska öka. Ditt stöd är nödvändigt för att vi ska kunna fortsätta göra det.

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