August 24, 2002 - Roanoke Times: Moldova RPCV Kimberly Luz taught Health Education

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 08 August 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: August 24, 2002 - Roanoke Times: Moldova RPCV Kimberly Luz taught Health Education

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 1:49 pm: Edit Post

Moldova RPCV Kimberly Luz taught Health Education

Read and comment on this story from the Roanoke Times on Kimberly Luz who recently returned home from Falesti, Moldova, where she spent two years educating children and adults at:


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Aug 24, 2002 - Roanoke Times

Author(s): Carrie Cousins The Roanoke Times

Kimberly Luz's life took a new direction at a Virginia Tech career fair about three years ago.

She picked up a brochure for the Peace Corps and remembers dismissing it because she "thought they were nuts" to ask for more than two years' commitment.

But Luz took another look at the Peace Corps and less than three weeks after graduating from Virginia Tech, she was on her way to the other side of the world. She recently returned home from Falesti, Moldova, where she spent two years educating children and adults. Moldova was once part of the Soviet Union and borders Ukraine, Romania and the Black Sea. More than 300 Peace Corps volunteers have visited the country in the past 10 years.

"It's two years," she said. "There are people that live there their whole lives and they do it."

While in Moldova, Luz spent much of her time teaching health education. With a donation from Radford dentist Dennis Vaughan, she was able to talk to people about dental hygiene and distribute toothbrushes in Falesti.

She wrote a grant and helped create an HIV / AIDS research center in Falesti. She helped teachers and students from 38 villages learn about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Her students have been trained to lead community-based seminars on these topics.

She also led a Girls Leading Our World camp, to teach leadership and women's rights. Women in Moldova work full-time jobs and must be responsible for the household, from cleaning and cooking to tending gardens and animals. Trafficking of women is also a problem in the country and Luz hopes her program helped make girls more aware of the dangers.

But these things were all in a day's work to Luz. "Looking back you realize there is a lot," she said. "All the work was rewarding."

All of this from someone who had her life planned out. Luz wanted to become a cardiologist before joining the Peace Corps. Now she plans to work for a year before starting a graduate school program in public health.

"And I would somehow like to do something over there [in Moldova]," she said.

Before joining the Peace Corps, Luz had never taught a classroom full of children or spoken Romanian. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she went through a 10-week training course and two days later she was in the classroom with more than 25 children.

"It was intense training," she said, "very intense."

During her first year in Moldova, Luz lived with a host family. She also met a friend who helped her learn about the new and different country. She and her Moldovan family are keeping in touch with letters.

Luz said it was very cold in Falesti and few people had heat or electricity. In the winter, Luz said her host mother boiled water and filled bottles to put in bed with each family member to keep them warm while they slept.

But living without many of the things most people take for granted - indoor plumbing, electricity and daily showers - made Luz realize what she had in Christiansburg.

"Everyone should live without everyday conveniences," Luz said. "I know I am really blessed to be here."

Luz said her time in Falesti taught her patience and to enjoy life.

"It was meeting people that have nothing but are willing to give so much," she said.

This was especially evident in the wake of Sept. 11.

Luz was one of only two Americans in the town of 15,000. She said people put flowers on the doorsteps of the U.S. Embassy and many asked about her family.

And after being home little more than a month, Luz is already thinking about going back to visit.

"I did not want it to end," she said. "I want to be back at the one-year point when I had time left.

"I decided one day I was going to join the Peace Corps," Luz said, "and now I have friends forever."

Carrie Cousins can be reached at 381-1671 or

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By Sabina Veksler ( - on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 11:52 am: Edit Post

Great Article! I was born in Falesti and moved to NYC when I was 12 years old. Now I am 24. I would love to see pictures of the town now.

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