For the past couple of years (I’m not entirely sure when it started), a group of Peace Corps volunteers, along with Moldovan volunteers, have done walking tours through different parts of the country to promote peace, explore different areas of the country, and spread information about Peace Corps in Moldova. This year, the group walked for six days through the southeastern part of the country. Although I was not part of the walking group, I was very excited that they were walking through my region of Moldova, and I was happy to host them in my village towards the end of their trip.
A group of four volunteers (3 Peace Corps, 1 Moldovan) arrived at my village this past Sunday afternoon. After a morning of walking in the rain, the weather had cleared up, and it was a nice afternoon (neither too hot or too cold). After introductions with my extended host family (my host sisters, my host-brother-in-law, and three of my host nieces were visiting), most of them took a long nap. This was their second-to-last day of the trip and they were very tired. One of the volunteers, one of my good friends here in Moldova, decided to forego the nap and we hung out with my host nieces.
After every had a much needed rest, we hung out outside on my host family’s patio. We had a delicious dinner with my host family, consisting of a potato, cauliflower, and squash dish, traditional “sarmale” (rice and veggies wrapped in cabbage or grape leaves and boiled), homemade bread, fried breaded zucchini, and more. Of course, there was wine as well! It was approaching dusk when we finished our meal, and we put on some music. Several of the volunteers danced with my host nieces, who really enjoyed it. Then, we headed inside to get to bed.
On Monday morning, after a breakfast at my house, the rest of the volunteers joined us (they had stayed the night with another volunteer in a neighboring village), and we went together to my school to meet with students. Only three students showed up (apparently, 9AM on a Monday was a little too early) so instead of a more formal meeting, we just had a conversation about the differences and similarities between Independence Day in the United States and Moldova, as well as about ourselves, our backgrounds, and what we hope to do in the future.
After a photo with the Peace Corps flag, we walked the short distance to the Casa de Cultura in my village, where a smaller group of us visited the public library (my first time!) and admired the beautiful, renovated building. We spoke with the librarians and handed out information about Peace Corps before taking a photo and a short tour of the library.
Most of the volunteers left right after that, but two stayed to catch the rutiera (mini-bus) to their final destination (one had a foot that was hurting) in Stefan Voda. After tea and snacks, I walked with them to the bus stop, where we met a group of people from my village, including one who spoke English very well (I had never met any of them). They were very curious what a group of Americans were doing in our small village!
I had a really great time hosting everyone and showing them around my town! I’m so glad they stopped by!