Albanian Gangham Style

Please excuse the relentless bragging that is about to ensue, but I have the best students ever so I can’t help it.

On March 23rd my students participated in an international campaign called “Earth Hour” by getting our whole city to commit to turn off their lights from 8:30-9:30 to raise awareness about the environment.


We also participated in the campaign’s “I will, if you will” challenge by promising to dance gangham style in the center of the city if 100 people committed to riding bikes or taking public transportation instead of driving their cars for 1 week.


Mission accomplished.


We even got the municipal government to support us by turning off their lights too.

And then it was time to follow through on our promise. Tiny hitch in the plan. My students don’t know how to dance gangham style. So, as the multi-purpose PCV that I am, I became a professional dance choreographer and teacher over night. I can’t wait to update my resume with all my newly acquired skills when I finish my Peace Corps service. Oh the bizarre things I’ve had to learn to do…and this list keeps growing. Anyway, we practiced the dance all week then got invited by the US Embassy to come and do the dance in Tirana (the capital).


What’s more, the embassy wanted to award us with a trophy and certificate to honor our commitment to our community and hard work mobilizing the population to make a difference. So me and my 24 students of the “Change the World” club headed to Tirana to dance our hearts out and shake hands with the ambassador.


The embassy even informed the tv stations so we had all these cameras in our faces all day and lots of my students gave interviews. And after the award ceremony at the embassy, Ambassador Arvizu was nice enough to sit down withe us for half an hour just to chat, which is unheard of for those of you who know anything about the bureaucracy of DC diplomatic operations.


I won’t bore you with details of the conversation, but the highlight for my students was when Arvizu asked me if I have a boyfriend. Wonderful, Danielle, wonderful. Way to make an impression. I’m not even sure how the conversation took that turn. There goes all my hopes and dreams of becoming an ambassador someday! Next time I’ll keep my mouth shut.

Want to watch our Gangham Style dance (with inserted Albanian touches like circle dancing)? Check it out:

Stay tuned for our next adventures to Change the World!


“It’s not better. It’s not worse. It’s just different.”


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