The last few weeks have seemed to fly by as I had a conference, Thanksgiving, and I worked on a few projects with my partner. Despite all the work, I was still able to take some time and relax, creating memories I will remember for the rest of my life.
The Freedom to Travel throughout Moldova
It seemed fitting that the weekend going into our conference was the first we were allowed to travel out of our sites. You see, the way it works in Peace Corps Moldova (and I think many other PC countries) is that once you get sworn in as a volunteer, you must spend 3 months at your new village (site). The only time you can travel, even on weekends, is if you have approval by your program manager, and almost always, it has to be with your host family. After this site prison (as many others call it), volunteers are able to travel to the capital or visit other volunteers throughout the country (as long as it does not interfere with work).
IST Reconnect Conference
As I mentioned, the first weekend we, the Community and Organizational Development workers, had free was the weekend going into our conference. The conference was the first time in 3 months that many of us got to see each other. The conference is called In Service Training (IST) Reconnect. As if the name did not give it away, it was an excellent time to reconnect, hear what everyone else has been up to, and learn about new opportunities to bring back to our communities.
Meeting the Ambassador
IST was very good and I came away from it with a lot of new ideas to look into implementing into my community. The first day of the conference was just the volunteers. It was an opportunity for us to speak English and to have a few more technical trainings. One of the highlights of our conference, was the fact that we got to meet the new U.S. Ambassador to Moldova. He seems like a very nice, intelligent, and experienced man, who I think will do a good job.
Back to Site
The conference was great, filled with great food and great memories with my fellow volunteers and partners. But eventually the fun comes to an end and we have to go back to work. Lucky for me, my work is fun! After returning home, the following day I celebrated Thanksgiving, and on Friday I made biscuits with my host mom (expect a post on this experience soon).
Back to work at the Library
This past week has been filled with many enjoyable moments. My students at my English Club discovered I have UNO, so we played that a few times this week. That was really fun and a great way to learn more about the kids who visit the library.
Teaching my Partner
Now, more than ever, I am thankful for everything my teachers and professors have taught me through the years. In high school, our art class was very limited on time, so my art teacher showed us a technique for tracing photos and pictures that reduced the design process of our artwork by, sometimes, days. This technique was to use a projector and have the image projected onto the wall and then trace the design. Well, this week my partner needed help drawing a leafless-tree and a board game similar to “Snake-n-Ladders” (that we played as a learning exercise at IST). I am no artist, I think that gene went to my twin, but I was able to remember the projector technique to share with my partner. She found it to be a splendid idea and loved it. Some days, it’s these little moments of sharing different techniques and procedures that have the greatest impact with our partners.
Seen below is a post from Peace Corps Moldova’s Facebook page. You can see my partner and I front and center in some of these photos.
Ending the Work Week with a gift
Despite a brief loss of power, Friday was filled with a lot of excitement. Although power was lost, fun times were not. UNO saved the day as the usual library users stayed around and played as they waited for the computers to start back up. I was able to play and might have won a few times. To end the day, the Post office lady came over to the library and said I had a package to pick up. Excitedly, I walked over and signed for the package. Then, I was able to open it, which was filled with all the American goodies of candy, toothbrushes and toothpaste, coloring books, and boxes of puzzles. Christmas came early it seems! My partner was overjoyed and can’t wait to implement a new program with the puzzles at the library. A big thank you to my aunt for the care package gift! It really means a lot!
I hope you enjoyed this brief recap of the last few busy weeks. As always, enjoy a cup of joe.