TIRANA, April 15
In the times of coronavirus, good hygiene and social distancing save lives. Albanians tend to have an obsession with sanitation and cleanliness. Even Ottoman Turkish writer Evliya Celebi, who travelled through southern Albania in 1670, marveled at the urban and household hygiene in the city of Gjirokastra in cases of plague. This is what he wrote:
“A marvel. If someone in the town of Gjirokastra should happen to have a pimple or a boil, all the people say that he has the plague and flee from him. No one allows him in. Even his closest neighbours take flight. Only when they are assured that he has some other illness will they approach and inquire about his health.
No one enters the home of anyone who has had the plague for up to two years, and even when this period has passed, they still cleanse the house with vinegar, disinfect it with various aromatic herbs, tear down and rebuild various parts of the house, and whitewash all the rooms with lime before entering. Strangely enough, the inhabitants of this town rarely die of the plague, but rather of dysentery, food poisoning, inflammation, and fever. Despite such illnesses, the people here live long lives.”
Be like Gjirokastra folks, keep your home clean, stay home and do not visit relatives, and maybe switch from house paints to limewash.
Read also: Albania through the Eyes of Edward Lear