It was a rainy 2018 November morning. We were in one of the training rooms at the Ivanaj Foundation’s premises conducting lecture 4 of our Seniors Technology Club – Phase 1 program – with our seniors,  assisted by some of the youth from our Volunteers’ Hub. The synergy and empathy among the attendees was getting into familiar levels.

After imparting and reviewing some knowledge about using Gmail, we played a challenge using Kahoot (the game-based platform that makes learning a more awesome experience) with the subject being Albanian Cuisine. The Seniors won 6-4 against the Juniors. Toward the end, since, according to the agenda, we had still 30 minutes for the Open discussion session, the topic about family relationships was selected. Everyone, respecting their turn, did describe their point of view, how much their family mattered, and how they were feeling about it.

At the end of the room, one of the participants was a mature lady (into her seventies) by the name of Violeta. She had totally white, short hairs, a wrinkled forehead, but glittering eyes and red cheeks. Her face would give the impression that she had suffered a lot, but also that, if she would open her mouth, she would articulate only sweet words.  And when her turn came up, she did speak and made us all fall into deeper thoughts…

She said: “When I see you, caring so much about us, and making us feel needed, my heart is filled full of hope. I hope that our country will bloom from youth like you, who have the good will and courage to react against loss of family values, ageing of population and emigration. For you I wish only prosperity and happiness throughout your coming years. I am an old lady now and I can’t give much to this good cause. About the current topic, however, I have only 2 questions that may help you to reflect about…”

After a long pause and asking for our full attention, she added:

“I know that now you are grown up and most of you are at university studies level, or are working at some jobs, and very soon you will create your new families, but have you ever turned your head and looked behind toward your parents that are getting older? Have you ever thought that they are the only one who care about you mostly, they call you every time, and ask if you have eaten, if you are sick, if you are sad or happy, if you need money? But have you ever thought, if they need anything?”

Silence prevailed. Violeta continued:

“They will never ask for it. Even if they starve from hunger or being in miserable emotional state. Turn your head around and think about them; do not justify that you are too busy with your kids, jobs and other matters of life.  Be grateful to them and find at least a few minutes to call them, through your smartphones. Do not use it just to scroll in Facebook, Instagram etc. and do not ask them if they need any goods or money, because they will say no! Very few might be wealthy, but most of them will be living by their pensions and living with it, it’s not enough. Anyway, just give it to them, the symbolic of it, is very important! It means you care about them, and their blessings will follow you wherever you will be.”

Everyone approved, and you could read into their eyes that they were hardly waiting for the moment to be alone, and make a call to their parents…

This is one of the reasons why our Seniors Technology Club works and should continue!  To achieve additional successful accomplishments with this endeavor, we humbly ask for your support for Phase 2 of our STC program that is planned to take place in Tirana in the fall of this year.

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