Friday, January 8, 2010

Not to get old…

- Shpëtim Agur Çilotaj is a rare boy, a good friend for everyone who knows him closely or has worked with him, - this is what my Cham friends from Fier told me a year ago.

These words were confirmed even by Gramoz Nimani (Naim), a common friend from Durrës, whom I trust because he has followed me for the Cham ideal even in the most difficult days, when he was ill and almost dying from languor.

And so instinctually I began watching Shpëtim, before deciding to open the friendship doors to him. And now he is a pleasant surprise for me, as a man of letters, who sees life from an artistic point of view and of course, even for other friends with a long experience in recognizing people, the same as me. And I am emphasizing not unintentionally, I don’t easily make mistakes regarding my tastes. At least, until today, I have never disappointed the readers. I think I’ll not disappoint them even with the personage I chose to present with such sympathy. I am saying it again: Shpëtim Çilotaj is really a charming boy, physically and especially in his interior. Believe me because I’m not insisting in vain, that’s why you should be curious to follow me in every detail, and you will be convinced that you have in front of you a main personage, really dignified for the Albanian society. A 35 year old man that blooms in his peak age, a friend full of virtues and a successful businessman - this is the right description of the man that advances impressively through this writing rows and in our imagination, honored reader…

Shpëtim Çilotaj was born in June 24, 1974 in the city of oilmen, in Patos (Fier), where he passed his childhood and got educated. So he finished the elementary and high school in his birthplace and graduated in Business Administration, Management in the University of Elbasan. And not in vain he chose this graduate school. It is understood, he was incited by the family gene. His grandfather, Laze Bilaj was a trader and his nephew, Shpëtim, this successful businessman, inherited it. His father, Agur, today is a well-set pensioner although he is 67 years old. Unlike his grandfather Laze, he worked as an oilman obliged by the conditions the former communist dictatorship had assigned, like all the townsmen of Patos, this oil-bearing zone. Shpëtim’s mother, Zonja, worked in construction.

Shpëtim is the smallest of three brothers. They have a sister, who is the brothers’ and parents pet as the last-born child of this typical Albanian family, which has been established in Patos about three hundred years ago. Grandfather Laze Bilaj took care of Shpëtim as the smallest of the boys, telling him his life experiences and teaching him how to be a devoted man for himself, his family and society. So he taught him how to imbibe the best characteristics and values of their clan, generation after generation and how to take values from the Cham coevals’ values.

Who doesn’t know Laze Bilaj in Patos and Fier, especially the Cham families that were established there in 1945, after being violently deported from their homeland, Chameria, by the Greek chauvinistic bands. As it is known, today the Chams, due to their rare genetic abilities, comprise a large part of Patos and Fier population. They came traumatized by the genocide the Greeks practiced upon their country and community. But they rapidly adapted themselves, handled trade and artisanal works, survived, were reproduced, and left many descendants to ensure the continuity of their own gene. So the Chams survived their number increased in Patos as well as in many areas of Albania, where they had set up their dwellings, expanding and strengthening the friendly relations with natives…

Shpëtim grew up and got educated as a Cham child among the numerous Cham families that had already enhanced their friendship with his grandfather Laze Bilaj, their host. The whole zone honors Laze for his hospitability toward the Chams. He supported and helped the Chams to build their homes and trade, as Chams’ most preferred tool to secure their living. And so they were so attached and fraternized that today Chams and natives don’t differ. Through the years the family traditions were mixed together and today it’s difficult to distinguish Shpëtim Çilotaj from a Cham guy and conversely.

In March 2002 Shpëtim Çilotaj created “Çilotaj” LLC company centered in Fier and with branches in some districts, which, due to Shpëtim’s managerial capacities grew, expanded and created capitals as one of the most durable businesses in Albania. Later, based on this company, was created “Çilotaj Group” ltd, centered in Fier and with branches in Vlora, Durrës, Tirana etc...Today, this successful company has production and construction lines and many other objectives. Shpëtim Çilotaj says their company is connected with the Turkish company “Kurum”, owner of former metallurgical combine in Elbasan and trades its iron, having exclusivity for Tirana and Southern Albania. “Çilotaj Group” ltd cooperates even with the Lebanon company “FK Cement” and they have exclusive rights to sell the cement of Fusha Kruja factory in the districts of Fier and Vlora. This company has set up the wiring line in Fier for iron rifling and retraction and the iron hollow production line for concrete platforms and building basements. In Tirana, this company deals with palace construction, while in Golem Beach it builds touristic objects. So they work hard with the aim to expand even more the building possibilities of the company which today has over 100 employees…

This company includes even the physical preservation society “Çilotaj Security” with administrator Gramoz Nimani or Naim Nimani, as all his friends know him.

- Now we have taken the presidency of Albanian Boxing Federation, - says proudly Shpëtim. – Don’ think we are inexperienced in this field. We have given evidence that we know how to manage sport clubs, because we have had before the direction of “Teuta Box” of Durrës and we were successful. That’s why we decided to see beyond it. But you have to know that this coincides with my biggest hobby, which is sport…

Shpëtim speaks with passion for his free time when he totally dedicates himself to sports games, soccer, volleyball and basketball, not only to keep his body in shape as an athlete, but also for pleasure, relaxation and to regain forces for tomorrow when he should be back at his construction works. Shpëtim says he makes a vivacious and exciting life. He likes reading, watching movies, he likes music, and he is so passionate about fast cars that he doesn’t leave the wheel easily. He would like racing, if he was given the possibility. He likes travelling in tourist places, not only for business purposes, when he has to travel and go to different places to meet foreign partners for the expansion of investments in Albania.

- Shpëtim Çilotaj, - tells me Naim Nimani, our common friend, - isn’t simply a systematic state taxpayer, but, with that noble spirit, he is also a philanthropist; he helps anyone who needs help from him, particularly vulnerable social categories. He cooperates with the Red Cross and provides financially many cultural activities etc. So, he works hard in many directions to keep up the dignified personality he has... However, he knows well that we, as his friends, have him under strict surveillance to prevent his spirit getting old prematurely as many others.

This guy is also committed to the Cham ideal, just like a worthy successor of Chameria, - say my Cham friends and I feel even more confident while portraying the features of this character so loved by the social opinion around him. For the sake of truth, I had noticed even before Shpëtim’s readiness to support even with his passionate words the Cham ideal, but when my friends say he is a good friend of Chameria, I raise my hands up and think I haven’t make a mistake portraying him with such certainty.

This is Shpëtim Agur Çilotaj, the guy whose spirit never gets old. I don’t know what else to say… If my friends have lied to me, if my eyes and my experience lied to me, I’m sorry: if they lied to me I lied to you, honored reader…

Elim Xanxari

(Translated by: Lorena Uliu)

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