Monday, May 21, 2012

Smart Mob: Let’s Do It

While watching the Modern Family episode where Mitchell cheats on Cam in “the worst way…. Cheating with choreography”, I thought, “Hells Yes!…Albania needs a Flash Mob!”  I started asking around with some of my other G14 volunteers and the resounding response was….Pse Jo? Le te bejme!  Why not!? Let’s do it. 

Yes, these fellow volunteers just happen to be gregarious extroverts (not at all like me) who were lured by a love for performance and limelight.  But we also realized the potential for using our attention-whore-like attributes to raise awareness for a relevant cause, issue or organization in Albania.  Thus turning a flash mob into a “Smart Mob.” Ok, seriously….Let’s do it!  (I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that everytime I read those words, I hear Tone Loc’s scratchy “Let’s Do It” as the prelude to Wild Thing. More 90s Hip Hop playing a role in everyday Albanian life)

In a matter of days consisting of emails, brainstorming and “what-if?” “planning and BAM!: a committee was formed, project plan was designed and an NGO partner, Green Line Albania, was secured… their motto: Let’s Do It, Albania!  No, I’m not even shitting you!  Indeed, the stars were aligned! 

Green Line Albania, part of the civil society movement World Cleanup 2012, graciously accepted our PCV proposal to promote their initiative, "Ta Pastrojmë Shqipërinë në një Ditë" (To Clean Albania in One Day) via an Earth Day Smart Mob!  And the ball was rolling.  Vazhdojme!

It took weeks of dedicated coordination, strategy, a fair amount of silliness and… if I’m being honest, a shqip-ton of anxiety… came to fruition on Sunday, April 22nd, Earth Day in Tirana’s Parku Rinia/Youth Park.  Need proof?  

Just watch our video: I'd like to draw special attention to the early part of the dance where a plak/old man (also known as gjysh/grandpa) walks directly in front of our dancers!  Hilarious!  Even better....he just cops a squat on one of the benches nearby and is in the thick of the mob as more and more people join!

Over 120 Smart Mob participants (more than half were Albanian nationals!) launched a surprise performance, wearing “Clean Albania in One Day” T-shirts, carrying Let’s Do It logo signs and boasting a very public and positive statement about community activism.  Through the breadth of PCV outreach, 34 communities from across the country were represented in this event.  Eight weeks of planning, an 18-member committee, countless emails and phone calls… all for only a 5-minute Smart Mob Performance.  Was it worth it? 

Meledina Rrustemaj, a teenage participant from Koplik, a small northern town, remarked, “I had an unforgettable experience...  These American volunteers have opened doors and opportunities that support our lives, and our world.”  Yeah… was ABSOLUTELY worth it!  And finally, giving immeasureable credit, where credit is due….Shume Faleminderit to the Smart Mob Committee!  We certainly DID IT!

Oh...and since our Smart Mob is a promotional gig....please watch the video, share the video, add it to your Facebook etc.!  We want this thing viral!  Sure, if you have contacts in Albania, they are our preferred audience, but hey....we'll take what we can get!

Peace, Love and a 5, 6, 7, 8!

PS.  Jam dakord me Kaem / I agree with Cam...cheating with choreography really is the worst kind!  Cheating with karaoke is a close 2nd.  And its possible I've been found guilty of both.

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