My Peace Corps Service in 1 Minute

Last week I had received an incredibly sweet “thank you” video from one of the students I’ve had the opportunity to work with in Technovation Challenge my first year. It’s worth sharing as the video captures a bit of an overall glimpse of my Peace Corps service from the perspective of a student here in Moldova all in one minute. I got a little emotional after watching it. Check it out!

I’ll be leaving my site, the place I have called home for 2 years in about a month. I’ve been saying farewells and see-you-later’s to a lot of the youth, organizations, and schools I’ve gotten to know over this time. I won’t be going too far in the year ahead since I’m extending for one more year and I hope to be able to visit a few times. However, I know one thing is for sure — I am definitely going to miss this place and the people who have made me feel welcome here.

Thank You! Mulțumesc mult!

I had previously shared last summer about a project I was working with my primary organization on in two rural villages in the northern part of Moldova. I am happy to share that this project has been successfully completed many thanks to a Let Girls Learn grant, local contributions both financial and in-kind, and many generous people from home.

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Fourteen 3-part beds making a total of 42 beds were purchased and delivered to two rural kindergartens in the northern part of Moldova. In addition to the beds, chairs were also purchased for these rural kindergartens with the remaining funds. As a result of this project, a wonderful local person saw the needs of these kindergartens within these communities and is personally working on purchasing tables for the kindergartens as well. By acquiring this furniture for these kindergartens, this not only impacts the early-education and care for young children ages 2-7 but also the families as well. By providing furniture this helps to keep the doors open for these local community kindergartens and allows families to send their children here during the day. This provides an opportunity for the family members to work during that time, especially for the mothers. In addition to this, the kindergartens are now able to have more children attend since they have the resources to support and care for more children and provide an early start to their education.

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Also as a result of this project, mothers and grandmothers had the opportunity to discuss with the local village doctor and among themselves on ways to keep their children healthy and in kindergarten, especially during the winter months. An activity was also coordinated and facilitated by a local woman who works in the IT-professional field in Moldova. This activity focused on gender-equality and involved both mothers and children from the kindergarten.

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The school director, teachers, children, and their families are all very happy with the outcome of this project. They are now able to attend a full day of kindergarten, nap comfortably in a warm bed, and there is no need to fight over the limited number of chairs anymore. Thank you on behalf of these two communities for making this a possibility in Moldova!

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Enjoy a little video of some follow up interviews that had been done after the project was completed.

Classroom Notes: On people and friendships

This is part of a series, “Classroom Notes” that I will be sharing as I connect with a classroom in the U.S. through the World Wise Schools program. I recently have the great opportunity to connect with a friend’s classroom back home in State College, PA. She has one class of 6th graders and another class of 7/8th graders and teaches middle school English and History.

The first group of letters that these students have written included many questions, asking about my service in Peace Corps and some questions concerning my well-being and interests. These two questions for this week were quite popular and were asked several times… it makes sense since we, as humans are so relational and friendships are crucial (especially in middle school). 😉

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Having some mustache-fun in honor of Amanda J.’s birthday with these lovely ladies. Amanda made these awesome mustaches, aren’t they fancy?

Do you have any friends there?

Yes, I have made some great friends with some fellow Peace Corps volunteers. Currently, there are about 120 of us living and working here in Moldova, so I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of them through trainings, seminars, and various projects. I’ve also made some local friends through mutual friends and through my workplace. Developing friendships takes time, plus add the language barrier as well as the distance it can take to visit with other volunteers. I look forward to developing those friendships over time in the next ~20 months or so.

How are the people there? Are they nice?

The many people I have met and the things I have learned from them has certainly changed my perspective in so many ways and for that I am grateful. From my experience, people have been kind, generous, and helpful. There are many examples I can share — from the time that I was struggling with carrying my heavy luggage back from a trip and a man didn’t even ask if he could help, just took my bag graciously and carried it to the rutiera (mini-bus) for me (you can also probably imagine how alarmed I was at first too); and then the time I was shopping in a store and a man excitedly came up to me with his two sons and wife in tow to say hello and introduce me to them – I realized he was the taxi driver who took a group of us to Chisinau a few weeks ago. In addition to those examples, I have a wonderful host family who makes sure that I am safe and eat well. They’ve certainly made me feel at home here in Moldova. I have had a positive experience so far and for that I am thankful.

Want to read the other questions the youth in the U.S. wanted to know? Check them out here!