Much Happier

As it has made its way through the official (headquarters) and unofficial (gossip mill) Peace Corps channels, I am happy to announce now that I have officially changed my program. I am no longer and English Education volunteer, but rather and Community and Organizational Development volunteer in Moldova. I am working with an organization called Rural Development Agency – Center. Basically, we write and carry out projects to improve the community and decrease socioeconomic instability. So, what do I do all day? I sit at a desk in an office, I research projects and grants, and I plan things with my Moldovan partner. It’s really fun, and I’m really enjoying it so far. My office is even right next to Tim’s school, so we get to eat lunches together. We are thinking of starting lunchtime runs in order to get some extra sleep, but more on that later.
Actually, I still really enjoy teaching English with the kids I tutor on Sunday. Our group is growing, and we have a lot of fun playing games and doing activities with language learning. I like teaching English, it’s just that teaching in a classroom isn’t for everyone.
Some projects I am working on right now (I would even like your help with one, so read closely) are:
A creativity camp in Orhei. We are in the beginning stages of hosting a creativity camp where three groups of kids will create a piece of art that touches on the same problem Moldova is facing. The kids will choose the problem from parents abroad, environmental pollution, corruption, and poverty. We will do team-building activities and teach them how to work in groups, then the three groups will create either a literary booklet, mural, or film. A local school has already said we could paint one of their walls facing the street and they will host the camp. Here is where you come in. We are hoping to combine this project with a third goal activity of raising American awareness of Moldova, and so we were hoping to partner with an American organization to raise the money for supplies. We need a total of about $500 for art supplies and water since it will be summer, so a small organization like an art club or youth groups would be great. We also want to do this because, if the organization likes the project, it can become an annual thing and the camp can keep growing. If you know anyone who would be interested in holding a fund raiser for us, it would be greatly appreciated. We’ll also be posting an account online where people can donate small amounts, either through the Peace Corps web site or ChipIn.com.
I’m also organizing a mock election to create a youth council in Orhei. This is exactly what it sounds like, with each school electing a representative to a youth council. They will then meet with the mayor and discuss projects they want to complete and the problems kids are facing in Orhei. I wrote a grant for this (which I loved doing because I was able to combine writing and helping people) that hopefully will be approved soon.
Tim and I are also meeting with the owners of a local movie theater soon. We’re trying to find out what it will take to refurbish it, and there are some organizations that offer funding if you show art films. These would be the type of films people wouldn’t be able to download (there are no copyright laws in Moldova), so we think it would be a great way to bring more arts into the community. We are still trying to figure out funding ideas for this project, so if you have any advice let us know.
Other than that we have been doing the usual things. We started making our own meals, which is so good because we’re eating healthier and we’re more in control of our own schedules. We even found whole wheat flour so we can bake our own whole wheat bread. A lot of people grind their own flour here, and we just found out that they give the whole wheat part to the chickens. We had no idea they had it, and they had no idea that it was healthier for you. We had someone bring us a bag of it, and now we bake bread every Sunday. We also shop a lot more at the piatsa, so we have a lot more visibility now. My partner even has an apartment, and we are planning on moving at the beginning of April. So, everything’s working out really well right now. I know our projects will turn out well, and now we’re just looking forward to spring.
This weekend was a little tough because we had no power from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. But, that’s behind us and we’re headed to Chisinau this upcoming weekend for an in-service training. It will be good to spend a weekend with friends.

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Author: Bre

I am in motion and in transition right now. I married Tim Knoll less than a year ago, and we recently applied to The Peace Corps. I work as a freelance journalist.

2 thoughts on “Much Happier”

  1. That’s great news that you found your calling there. I’ve always believed that you may determine that path you want to travel from a generic idea such as the peace corps (or cooking) but exactly what you how you can have your best impact is something you can’t determine until you are immersed in it and discover opportunities that you didn’t know existed. Sometimes it just takes a little open mindedness and a little right place at the right time, but eventually you find it. I hope you guys have a great, and probably unique, valentines day. Let me know what kind of ingredients are easy to come by there and I’ll try to throw together some recipes that fit for you guys, or if there is anything you’re craving and I’ll try to come up with a way to replicate/substitute. Hope things continue to go well. We love the updates.

  2. Im glad that you are enjoying your new position! You two are experiencing so many new and exciting things together. I am so happy for and proud of you both that you are enjoying your time there and also using it to learn more about yourselves. Keep the updates coming. 🙂

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