‘Compelling and colourful’ – Sophie Lam, The Independent
 
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 with evacuation 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?

Read an interview about the book from the Western Morning News or the five-star review in The Lady magazineSpeakers of Albanian will also appreciate the interview about the book on RTK, the Kosovan national broadcaster. Mbas intervistes ne RTK ka edhe nje interviste ne Klan Kosova per liber.

The book is available on Kindle or to order on Amazon or from bookshops.

If you'd like to read The Rubbish-Picker's Wife; an unlikely friendship in Kosovo in your book group,  get in touch at elizabeth.gowing[at]hotmail.com about discounted book group packs  (multiple copies of the books for  £9 inc. P&P to one address). You might also like these book group questions for structuring discussion about the book.
Hatemja, the Rubbish-Picker's Wife of the book's title, has recently started a small business with the support of Nicola Williams from the UK who is experienced in working with fabric. Hatemja's beautiful hand-stitched patchwork is now available as cushion covers, with all proceeds going to her to enable her to keep her children in school. These are beautiful, unique pieces of handcraft and perfect 'gifts that give'. The cushion covers are £30 + P&P. All measure 18" square and come with a tag which tells Hatemja's story. You can see more details and place an order on the Facebook page which has been created for them

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