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The Balkan Mountains dominate the landscape of Southeastern Europe,
acting historically as a barrier to economic development and to isolate
ethnic groups from one another. Here a group of women plant crops
in a valley in Albania, Europe's poorest country. Many Albanian men
work abroad (about 20% of the total labor force), mostly in Greece and
Italy, the economy buoyed by the fact that they send money home.
This also means, of course, that families are split apart, and that women
are currently the primary agricultural workforce, as seen in this photo
from planting season in May. Albanian exports include food crops,
fruit, and tobacco, but the economy suffers from a huge foreign trade deficit
and foreign debt problem.