Marvel Nichols says she’s ready for the adventure that will take her nearly halfway around the world.
More specifically, she’s ready to do good work when she gets there.
Nichols, a 58-year-old lower South Hill wife and mother, is leaving on Tuesday for a three-week trip to northern Albania, where she will work with the youth in Boga. She will participate in a program of the Albanian Alps Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by Oregon State University professor Steve Cook.
Nichols and Cook are cousins, but because of his demanding schedule, she said, he hasn’t made it to their family reunions in Tonasket, Wash., in years.
Cook first traveled to the post-Communist Albania as a tourist in 1992, when the people were barely surviving. Over the years, he and his wife have returned, bringing school supplies, library books, maps and other supplies.
In 1996, Cook returned as a Fulbright scholar and taught at the university.
Nichols, who has 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, said she made the commitment to go to Boga after meeting an Albanian representative at last summer’s family reunion.
“I know nothing about Albania, I don’t speak Albanian, but I know they need a lot of help,” she said.
Nichols had owned a gymnastics studio for 15 years and said she would like to introduce the Albanian children to gymnastics. In preparation for her goodwill mission, she already has shipped books, school supplies and recreation supplies to her destination.
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