I love the community of volunteers and mentors here in Chisinau! There are a whole slew of different volunteer/mentor-led activities happening pretty much every day of the week, and everyone seems to be happy to share event ideas and invitations. That’s how I ended up going to the Museum of Ethnography and Natural History this weekend!
Some of the most interesting things displayed at the museum:
A coffee exhibit (a personal collection, with which the collector hopes to turn into the first ever Moldovan coffee museum).
A full mammoth skeleton.
Three whole rooms (including a cellar) chronologically detailing much of Moldova’s history and culture.
After the museum we went to the Matryoshka tea room, where I ate a delicious apple/honey crepe, and drank tea. All in all, it was a great way to celebrate getting over a cold!
This week: I will be working with the director of the Center to help write donor reports and grants in English. I was also invited to a staff/ministry meeting tomorrow which I will be attending. While it will be conducted in Romanian, my boss assures me that it will be interesting enough to see who attends, and watch how these meetings are conducted.
It has been snowing here for the last few days! Despite the fact that the negative temperatures (today it was -14!) have brought frozen water pipes and a slippery sidewalk, it’s very beautiful outside.
Apart from the snow, here are my top three moments of this week:
When the traveling toy salesman (yes, that’s a real thing) came around to the center and we got to test out all of the toys.
Having a conversation (in Russian) with some of the center’s beneficiaries that lasted more than 2 minutes.
Finally making Mămăligă and not completely burning it. (Next up: Zeama!)
I am working at the Center for Assistance and Protection of Victims and Potential Victims of Human Trafficking. This center provides services including psychological counseling, medical and legal assistance, and temporary housing. Currently there are four beneficiaries and three children staying at the center, but this number can fluctuate anywhere between 1 and 24. Because I just arrived and do not speak (much) Russian or (any) Romanian (yet!), I have been shadowing the other English speaking volunteers and staff members and getting to know the facility. However, within the next few weeks I should have a more set schedule. I believe my main tasks will include programming different events for the beneficiaries (my experience as an RA should come in handy here!), helping the child psychologist in the mornings, and teaching English.
Besides from working at the center, I have had my first Russian lesson, and am meeting a lot of other volunteers. All of the volunteers have been very sweet and welcoming. Also, because they all have projects in different areas and have been here for a while already, they are savvy to the many events happening in Chisinau. Just this weekend I was able to go see a famous Hungarian pianist play at the national philharmonic, as well as go watch a Jimi Hendrix cover band perform!
While I am still overwhelmed by everything new, all of the wonderful people (and dog) I have met so far have made my transition as smooth as possible. So спасибо большое!
Yesterday I arrived in Moldova! My mentors met me at the airport and took me to my apartment, where I promptly fell asleep. I guess that’s what 18 hours of traveling does to you! Luckily this morning I awoke full of energy, and so my mentors took me out to explore. Here are some pictures of Chişinău city center and my apartment. It was a nice day (not too cold) and so I got to stay out and see lots of things.
Tomorrow I am going to the ADVIT office for my arrival training. I hope it all goes well!