This is part 2 in a multi-part series about Peace Corps Week 2019. To view part 1, click here.
My Peace Corps experience takes place in the Republic of Moldova. Not the Maldives. Not Macedonia, Malawi, or Mali. No, it’s not in the Caribbean or Africa. Moldova is a small country (about the size of Maryland or a 1/3 the size of Indiana) cozily situated between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the east.
Moldova became an independent republic with the breakup of the USSR in 1991. Moldova is seeped in history that deserves its own post, but for now, I’ll be telling you about the Peace Corps in Moldova.
How are Peace Corps and the Republic of Moldova connected?
Peace Corps entered Moldova, after an invitation from the government, in 1993 (YAY! Over 25 years being in Moldova!). There have been 1,530 volunteers who have served in Moldova, with 104 currently serving.
The video below, although long, really shows what volunteers do throughout the country.
Volunteers currently serve in 3 sectors: education, health, and community economic development. Education consists of teachings English in schools; health consists of teaching health education in schools; and community economic development consists of Community and Organizational Development. These are the main focus areas but volunteers have secondary partners as well (i.e. a volunteer teaching health in schools, but the they might also work with an NGO in their community to address other health related issues).
Peace Corps volunteers in Moldova work to increase capacity building and strengthening civil society and local public institutions for sustainable community development.
For me, this means I work mainly at a library. I assist my librarian in developing her skills and help her to become a more effective leader. And of course, I have an English club where I play fun games. We recently finished crafting a project for our library so we will be able to have more programs, activities, and increased usage at the library.
Moving back to the volunteers
Most PCVs work in villages or very small cities and live with host families for at least the first six months. Most volunteers live with family for their whole stay in Moldova. Volunteers spend 10 weeks learning the language (Romanian, although some also learn Russian as it the main spoken language in some villages throughout the country). Integration is key to volunteers’ success, which is why many volunteers stay with host families the whole time.
If you have time, watch the videoes above. If you have any questions about it or Peace Corps life in Moldova, I’d love to answer them. I hope to dive more into the work of volunteers and life in Moldova in the future, but I wanted to give some facts about PC Moldova as part of this PC Week 2019.