“My happiness is my family,” said the old man in a rural village in northeastern Albania. “But I don’t have enough to feed them.”
UPDATE: This #HappinessIdea campaign has been fully crowdsourced. In October 2017, an Australian family saw our call-to-action on social media to donate a local Albanian goat to Grandfather. The Australian family donated the goat as well as the transportation for the goat from the seller to Grandfather’s village. Thanks to everyone who supported this happiness campaign and for being a part of #HappinessInAction.
Grandfather lives with his growing family in a rural Albanian village. His wife died years ago, and his two grown sons are in their twenties. Staravec, the village where Grandfather lives with his four-year-old granddaughter and his two daughters-in-law, is one of three thousand or so villages in the country. There is little work in this part of Albania; some villages have as few as sixty inhabitants. Because of the job shortage, Grandfather’s sons have left Albania for neighboring Greece and Macedonia to seek work. Once they start earning, they’ll send home their wages to help support the family. Until then, Grandfather is responsible for caring for his granddaughter and daughters-in-law, one of whom is pregnant.
In 2017, we stumbled on Grandfather through a Facebook friendship. Ecuadorian-American hotelier Amber Laree posted a status update that she was headed on a 100-day journey on foot in the Balkans. Amber’s original plan was to meet refugees along the way and help them if she could. We were intrigued: walking for one hundred days through unfamiliar territory to help people? Wow. We’d never met Amber in person, but we’d put in touch by a mutual friend. Patricia messaged Amber and together they agreed to try to somehow collaborate to make for a happier situation. Then Amber flew to the Balkans and started walking. Not long after, she met the old man we call Grandfather.
Through a translator, Amber asked Grandfather what happiness meant to him. His answer was simple. “My family,” he said. “But we don’t have enough to eat.” Grandfather then went on to explain his story, adding that his favorite part of the day is walking his four-year-old granddaughter to school. It takes an hour, and he has a bad back, so it’s hard to give her a piggyback when she gets tired but he does it anyway.
Amber asked Grandfather if there were anything that he needed, anything that would make his growing family happier. His answer was immediate and simple. Grandfather said he needed a goat. A goat, he explained, could be milked. With a goat, there would be milk and cheese. It could even be bred. Later, Grandfather would even make a deal with his daughters-in-law: he’d walk and feed the goat if they would milk it and make cheese.
Grandfather’s #HappinessIdea is to receive a goat to help feed his family. Can you help provide a local goat (and transportation for the goat) to an Albanian family who is struggling to support themselves?
To learn more about one woman’s #HappinessIdea in Washington, D.C. to host an unusual dinner party aimed at creating community and tackling racism on a grassroots level, click here.
We’ve crowdsourced these items
Local Albanian goat
Transportation for Goat
Goat delivery service