'Compelling and colourful' - Sophie Lam, The Independent
'A wonderful writer about Prishtina' - Matthew Parris
This is a true story of living and learning - being confused and comforted - with the excluded Ashkali people of Kosovo; an account of the challenges and delights of what happens when you find your community but it's a long way from home.
Hatemja, a rubbish-picker's wife, lives in the poorest community in the poorest country in Europe. When Elizabeth Gowing is befriended by her, the women learn with, from and about one another. How can you find the best rubbish pastures for scavenging? How can you free children to go to school rather than to go out begging? How do you then convince the local school to accept them? Can mayonnaise deal with headlice? How best to teach the 36 letters of the Albanian alphabet? How would Facebook help evacuate a family from a rat-infested hovel? How do you make baklava? And through it all, how do you maintain a precious friendship that's helped you find out the best you can be?