gonxhe bojaxhiu

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August 26th 1910: Mother Teresa born

On this day in 1910, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (now best known as Mother Teresa) was born to an Albanian family in Skopje, Macedonia which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. She became a nun when she was 18 and joined the Sisters of Loreto. In 1946 she claimed that she had a vision of God telling her to leave the convent and help the poor. She obeyed and lived among the poor in India and it was during this time that she went from Sister Teresa to Mother Teresa. In 1950 she established Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic congregation which helps the poor, the ill and the homeless. Members of the order, which still continues to do good works, make four vows, the last of which is to give “Wholehearted and Free service to the poorest of the poor”. Her work drew great international attention and in 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize. While being praised by many she was also a figure of controversy partly due to her opposition to contraception and for the large donations from disreputable sources her organisation accepted. Towards the end of her life Mother Teresa began to feel doubts about her religious convictions, and died in Calcutta on 5th September 1997, aged 87.

“I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.”
- Mother Teresa on her message from God

Top 10 Facts about Albania

1. Albania had 3 million people but only 3000 cars at the end of the communist era in 1991 because private cars were illegal. Today, Albania has many cars and perhaps 1/3 are Mercedes of varying legal statuses. Albanians do not wear seat-belts.

2. Albania has the second highest rate of sex selective abortion in the world, between India and China.

3. Albania had a Stalinist government for almost 50 years (1944-1991) and 1 out of 100 Albanians was imprisoned at some point by this regime. There still remains much nostalgia for this system which brought electricity, modern medicine, and literacy to much of the population for the first time in history.

4. The republic of Albania wouldn’t exist without the intervention of Woodrow Wilson at the end of WW1. Even with his help, much of the Albanian people were still divided by the borders of  Macedonia, Kosovo/Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece.

5. Albania descended into anarchy/civil war in 1997 after pyramid schemes left much of the already very poor country even poorer. Arms depots were raided by the general population, putting millions of AK47’s into their hands. This is the only occasion that Albania’s 700,000 concrete bunkers were actually used for military purposes.

6. Significant portions of the population in Albania’s Mountainous Region are stunted due to malnutrition.

7. Albania’s “hero” Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu or known better by her nom de guerr “Mother Teresa” is widely lauded internationally perhaps because few actually know her views. On accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, she claimed Abortion was basically the worst thing ever. When Ireland voted to legalize divorce, she campaigned against it. She was also against contraception.

8. Albania is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It is tied at 113 out of 176 with Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Niger on the corruption index. 

9. 33% of Albanian voters voted to re-establish the monarchy in 1997

10. For about 10 years (1968-1978) , Albania’s only ally in the world was China. After China, Albania had no allies and was basically a more isolated European North Korea until 1991