On Friday, I took a short trip to my raion center, Ştefan Voda, to run some errands with my host mom. We boarded a very old bus, along with about 20 other people from my town. It was a very chilly day, and the doors to the bus didn’t close all the way, so I was frozen by the time we arrived in Ştefan Voda just 30 minutes later.
Once there, we made our way to the local hospital, where my host mom had a doctor’s appointment. The hospital seemed largely vacant and was made up of many very old, somewhat crumbling buildings. There was one building that had “maternitate” (maternity) painted outside, but otherwise the buildings were poorly labeled or not labeled at all. We entered an unlabeled door into a building that was in pretty rough shape. The doctor’s office we then entered, however, was actually very clean, newly renovated, and had technology I wouldn’t have expected. This is often the case in Moldova- buildings that look like they’re crumbling on the outside, hallways and stairwells that don’t look much better, and then very nice apartments or offices within. The outside of the buildings rarely indicate the condition on the inside. We waited for a while for my host mom’s turn. A godmother to my host siblings was also there for an appointment. It seemed that the appointments were first come, first serve and weren’t scheduled in advance.
After the doctor’s appointment, we walked to the center of the town and stopped at an art school to make some copies of documents. The school, though by no means a new or newly renovated building, housed some pretty cool murals and we could hear a concert happening in another part of the building. Students’ artwork was also displayed near the entrance.
Our last stop was to walk a fair distance to the piaţa (plaza). Here we purchased a flower pot at a hardware-like store. The store also sold things like plates, cooking ware, wallpaper, paint, tools, and even portable stoves and ovens.
We then made our way back to the bus and headed home. One thing that struck me was that the passengers on the bus talked and joked with one another, which is generally not the case in Moldova. I think perhaps it was different because they were all from my little town and therefore knew each other well, as well as being a shorter trip.
It wasn’t a particularly eventful trip, but it is the first time I’ve accompanied my host mom on errands outside of our town. It was also my first time on a smaller bus in Moldova! I was a little worried about how safe it was, but this is a normal mode of transportation here and clearly the bus manages to make it to our raion center and back every day, so I figured it would be okay, and it was.