There's Something about Mary

Stories and thoughts about my time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova


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Este frig!

I feel like a wimp saying this, but this week has been cold!  And I did not bring the correct clothing with me to Ciorescu….

I thought winter was going to be a breeze, but now I am not entirely sure.  I guess time will tell.

Noate buna!

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It’s True, You Can Go Back

Tomorrow starts the final phase of Pre-Service Training (PST) for me.  What is that you say, more training?  I thought you were already a sworn-in volunteer.  In Moldova, the training for Agribusiness and Community Development volunteers is handled a bit differently.  We had an initial 8 weeks of training, and then we were sworn in and sent off to work in our villages. The working with our partners and at our sites is considered to be Phase II of PST, and now after 7 weeks we have 2 more weeks of training for what is called Phase III.

This phase takes place at our original village, we have language in the morning and technical sessions in the evening.  And most every volunteer is living with their original host family.

I left at around 1:30 from Rîșcani, and my host mom was so worried about my bag being too heavy, she saw a guy she knew driving down our road and she asked if he would give me a ride to the bus station.  Once we arrived at the bus station the nice man stayed until my rutiera arrived, and he told the driver I where I was going and that I was American.  The driver gave me the seat next to him, which I am very thankful for because the rutiera was packed!  I counted 43 people who got off, including myself.  There are only about 15-20 seats, so the other 20+ people had to stand all crowded together.  I think the driver liked me, he gave me some candy and kept asking me questions.  (He was also rather old, I seem to attract the old men like my mom does….thanks mom :)).

I arrived in Ciorescu, my original site at about 4:30, walked to my old host family and was greeted with excitement!  My host mom told me I looked very pretty and that I had lost weight (don’t really think so, but still a nice thing to hear).  She and my host sister made coltunasi with brinza, which are a ravioii filled with cheese….absolutely delicious!  I also had some tea in MY cup.  All summer I always got the red tea cup, and once again that is the cup I received.  I love my little red cup 🙂

Training starts tomorrow…wish me luck

Noapte buna!


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Eek! Spider

Tonight I was eating dinner outside on the picnic table, and after it started getting dark my host mom set up a light that gave me a great view of this….

I hate spiders and I am just glad it is outside and not in my room.  If it was inside, I probably would have to have someone else take care of it for me.

Noapte Buna!


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Agricultura Ecologica

About 3 weeks ago, I helped my partner prepare for a seminar about organic farming.  All I actually did was put together some packets.  As it turns out though, no one showed up, so the seminar never happened.  I was pretty disappointed and I felt bad for my partner because she had put in all sorts of work for nothing.  I couldn’t read her expressions though, so I am not sure how she felt about it.

On Friday as I was about to go home, she asked me if I wanted to go to Mihaeli (sp?) on Sunday.  I had nothing else planned so I said yes, and we agreed to meet at the office at noon on Sunday.  When I arrived on Sunday, I still wasn’t sure exactly what we were going to be doing, but we grabbed all the stuff from the seminar that never took place, loaded in a car and drove the 12 km to Mihaeli (sp?).  When we got there I realized that another volunteer lives in that village, so I called him up and he came down to join the seminar.  The seminar was suppose to start 1, and I don’t think it really did start till about 1:30, we sat around in the mayors office and looked at the pictures he had taken of town events.  Once the seminar started, me and the other volunteer walked around his village, he showed me the school, his house and then we stopped for a beer.

After the seminar ended, my partner and I drove to the house of one of the ladies who attended.  She uses the “agricultura ecologica” that my partner was talking about.  Here are some pictures.  Her tomatoes were delicious, and at the end, she gave us a bag full!

                   

               

I also have a thing for corn fields, and I can’t figure out why they put the dry stalks together like this…but it still makes for some good pictures.

                

Noapte buna!


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Plimbat

I like to go on walks and explore my town.  Tonight, after I was done eating my host mom came in and asked if I wanted to walk to the magazine (convenience store) with her.  I was reading a book, and only had about 20 pages left, so I asked if she could wait till I was done.  She agreed, I finished my book and off we went.

Now, I wasn’t sure where we were going, we have a magazine about 2 blocks from our house, but I don’t think my host mom has ever went inside that one, and when I followed her out of our gate, she went in the opposite direction that I was expecting.  We walked for about 10 minutes probably and ended up at this tiny store out by a corn field that I would have never guessed was a magazine. It had a seating area outside where men were drinking beer and we sat inside and talked to the clerk.  Or my host mom talked to her, they were mostly speaking in Russian.

Not sure how long they talked, but my host mom never actually bought anything, I don’t think she even brought money with her, but I was given an ice cream bar (I kind of felt like a little kid) and on our way to leave my host mom insisted I take a liter of water with me.  We then walked home.  My host mom informed me though that we will be going back because the buckwheat (which I love) is mai ieftine (cheaper) then at other stores.

Oh, and I am excited for Wednesday, it is my towns hram (village birthday), I get the day off work, there is a concert and lots of food!

Noapte buna!


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Craft Club

I think I am going to make a once a month arts and craft club.  I have been reading lots of blogs and getting ideas, but would love more, or supplies or suggestions (Heidi Fay, I am talking to you :)).

I am only required to work about 20 hours a week, and I am suppose to fill up my schedule with secondary projects, this one sounds much more fun to me than an English club, which I will probably start soon too.

Noapte buna!


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First Bell

In Moldova, September 1 is the first day of school for everyone in the country, including the colleges and universities. (Kind of a smart idea, if you ask me). My host mom a day or two before asked me if I wanted to go to first bell.  She told me it started at 8:30, so we would need to leave at 8.

On Thursday, I got myself dressed and walked with my host mom to the local Russian school (yes, they have schools in different languages, more on that later), where her daughter is a teacher, and her granddaughter is a student.  We made a quick stop at my office so I could drop my stuff off and arrived at the school just in time.  On our way there my host mom told me that this is the biggest school in Rîşcani, with about 800 students, in all 12 forms.  Kindergarden is held in a different building.

When we arrived at the school, all the students, parents and staff members were outside in a “U” shape pattern, and the kids in form 1 (1st grade) were escorted in by the 12th form students.  Everyone was dressed very nice, most in black skirts.jumpers and white tops.  (Some a little scandelous for US standards, if you ask me)  All the boys had on suits that they all looked so cute in, and most everyone had flowers for their teacher.  There were some speeches by the school director and some students, none of which I could understand because it was in Russian.  There was also a few performances, a little girl sang, 2 others danced, and then the first bell was rung.

After the bell was rung, everyone separated and went to their home room.  I followed my host mom inside to see her granddaughters class, then we left and walked back to my building.

               

                  

On our walk back, I tried to ask my host mom the reason for the different schools, in Rîşcani there is a Russian, Romanian and even a Ukranian school. This means that the lessons are taught in that language. In Moldova the official language is Moldovan, which we celebrated on August 31 “National Language Day” and doesn’t actually exist, but is about 98 % Romanian with a few different words mixed in, that come from the Russian language.  We never really came to a conclusion, she just kept telling me that they are of Russian decent and want to speak Russian.  I personally think it is one of those things that will continue to hold this country back, eventually the government is going to have to put a stop to the segragated schools and just teach in the national language, and offer the Ukrainian or Russian as other classes to take.

I would say that a good majority of Moldovans can speak both Russian or Romanian, and maybe some English, French or Ukranian. But then there is also a smaller number of people who only speak Russian, which is something I have found in my community, and it can be rather frustrating.  There is an awesome cafe, but the menu is only in Russian, so all I have ever ordered is ice cream or coffee, but the rest of the food smells incredible, I just can’t read the menu. The market across from my work operates mostly in Russian, and the lady behind the counter glares at me when I can’t understand.  When I am introduced to people, they ask if I speak Russian or Romanian, when my host mom tells them Romanian they give me a sad look and say, in time.  I do hope to pick up some Russian while I am here, but why should I have to to be successful at my job?  So I ask, why in a country where the national language is one thing can people do their business and send their children to a school of a who different language?