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Clara Morris &
John Goodrick's Moldova Peace Corps Web Site
Clara Morris &
John Goodrick's Moldova Peace Corps Web Site
JOHN GOODRICK &
in Gura Bicului
(email to Kelly)
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John? Click on their names
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Bio: John & Clara
Update - August 1, 2002
Update - July 13, 2002
Update - July 5, 2002 (John)
Update - July 4, 2002
Moldova 9 PCVs
Clara Morris &
Clara & John's Wish List:
To Top Home Peace Corps Info Moldova Info Pictures Contact Info Joey Melissa Leila
Hometown: Liberty, MO
Current Residence: Alexandr Omilcuic
pentru Clara or John
Anenni Noi, Sector
Republic of Moldova
Major/Education level: BS in Science Writing from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. Also received a Transportation Certificate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City
Why I chose to become a PCV: I have always loved volunteering and to travel, to experience the unknown and enjoy a good challenge. I have always wanted to be bi-lingual and am now realizing that dream.
What I plan on doing after PC: Probably end up doing more volunteer work. I am not ready to retire, but would enjoy a job that I felt was making a positive difference in the world...like an environmental occupation or helptin to create soup kitchen/shelters for the poor.
Hardest part about being a volunteer: Finding out how you can help. You can't help unless you know who you are helping.
Best part about being a volunteer: Finding out that your culture is not the only one in town and that people are just people wherever you go.
What did your family say when you told them about PC? They were proud, and mad, and supportive - all the things that a family can be when they know that someone is leaving to do something that their heart tells them to do.
Clara's bio yet to come!
This page was last updated on: October 19, 2002
Home Peace Corps Info Moldova Info Pictures Contact Info Joey Melissa Leila
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2002 05:30:37 -0700 (PDT)
Life in Moldova is great. We have been here long enough that we have friends and a real life. We go places with people and we have friends to our house. Work continues to be a challenge. Nothing works like you would think it should. A simple task takes weeks, if not months. Everything is political. NGOs are afraid of sharing info for fear the other NGO will find out about their funding and get it.
NGOs are how most things here work. A group forms an NGO and writes a grant and starts some activity, from an Internet cafe to a farm store, a women's business training center, to you name it. There are a few private businesses, most in the capital or the 4 larger cities. All most people have is their plot of land outside of the village. Without this they would not eat. Most have no job except to work this land. They grow what they know and what will keep in their root cellars. When they try to sell the extra, it is for pennies. Right now, onions are selling for 17 cents for 2.2 pounds (kilogram). People have lots extra and nothing to do with it.
We are really dry right now. The gardens are wilted, raspberries dried up. This means less jam for the winter. Moldovans eat a lot of jam and bread in the afternoon with tea. My friends are worried that we won't have food for the winter and are helping me put cherries and jam in jars for the winter. Soon we will preserve squash and eggplant. They don't realize that I am not as dependent as they are because PC does give me money for food so I can buy some canned corn or tomato products in the winter. They very rarely ever buy this type of product. For a special masa (large dinner for a holiday or birthday or in memory of someone's death), they may buy this, but not just because they want it for dnner tonight. I am thankful for the help, it gives me more variety and it is tasty.
I have been involved in both the planning and working at Camp GLOW this past June. We have a camp in a lovely setting in central Moldova for 100 girls from all over the country. It is in Romanian and English. We have some college students that have studied in the USA and translated for us when needed. We also have some PCV's that speak really well, and they teach in Romanian. My classes were a mixed group, we made cookies (oatmeal, chocolate chunk - there are not a lot of chocolate chips here - sugar cookies and tea cakes). I taught an art class where the girls made friendship bracelets and picture frames, and another class was pinata making (most had never heard of a pinata!!). Other classes ranged from self-defense, communication, and democracy to activism.
We had 4 classes per day, and then another afternoon activity like disco, talent shows, etc. We also tried an idea where we named each of the 6 cabins after a real woman in Moldova and then these women came out to camp and spoke with the girls about their jobs, lives, etc. I'm sure we'll do that again. I watched some girls come rather hesitant, missing moms and boyfriends. When we were ready to leave, they cried and traded addresses with their new friends from all around Moldova. This is really a big deal that they meet people from other parts of the country. Lots of these kids have not been to other parts of their country or far from their village. I got home the 30th of June and the 1st of July I had an email from one of the girls. What an experience.
We (PEACE CORPS) worked with an NGO this year on the camp. Next year we plan to continue the relationship, eventually handing more and more responsibility over to them. Next year I will be co-chair with another volunteer, Stephanie. We will work closely with TDV, the NGO. So I will keep you informed as to the progress.
As I was saying, life keeps up busy here. Our friends want lots of time. They don't get it that I don't want to stay until midnight and then the whole next day..... Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining. It is just tiring. In a few minutes I will leave and go to Nadea's house and we will make zucchini bread in some type of pan, probably round. They have round bread pans, it will be OK. She and her family love new recipes, though many have expensive ingredients. We try to adjust to make it workable. English walnuts grow here all along the roads, and many people have trees in their yards, so nuts are not a problem in the fall and winter.
I guess the one thing that keeps presenting its ugly head here is the amount of drinking. It is really an awful problem. People drink at work for a birthday, for any type of reason. Wine is made in all homes and so it is free for the taking. They buy cognac and some vodka. It is really excessive. If you try to refuse, they are insulted. I take a small sip, they want you to drink the whole glass when a toast is made. That is the whole point - make a toast,drink the whole glass of wine without stopping, eat, make another toast.........I try to play along to a point, but it is excessive. I never drink all, I see after being here for a year what a huge problem this is. I used to think it is an OK tradition, but now I really feel differently. There are some families that rarely drink, only at large celebrations, but they are few.
The new group of volunteers came in June, thee 15th. It was great to see them. I will speak at their training later in July. Can't wait to get to know them. They have 7 couples (only 2 in our group), and more older people (over 50, or even in their 40's is old for PC). We will have some visit in a week or so. They come for the weekend to see what it is really like at our sites. For us, this visit was great. We hope to show our guests what a great site we have.
Tomorrow is the 4th and the Embassy has a huge party. Last year it was so fun, and this year will be even better because we know more people in the American community. We will all celebrate our truly free and wonderful American lives.
This is long, sorry. HAPPY 4TH.
Lots of Love,
Update from John Goodrick
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2002 04:26:20 +0000 (PDT)
I am so glad you wrote. One of my favorite pictures is one with you and Clara and I at the Embassy on the 4th...
Our work here is like all EOD work, sporadic. We work hard, have great projects, but the day-to-day work sometimes is non-existent. I received an SPA grant for my experimental garden project, received books for our English classes, plan English classes and clubs in the fall, help with the Baseball team and camps, Clara is working with GLOW Camp, and now we are off to help with GAD camp for youth.
I'm working to try to get boxes of baseball equipment shipped to me, and a woman has found a wheelchair that I need for a local youth. Things are difficult to organize from such a long distance away. Also, [my] counterpart said they would let me fill a small container with donated items, but organizing the collections even with friends in my community can be maddening...and then what do they really need and how to distribute. The hardest job you'll ever love...I know the meaning.
Had a horrendous problem trying to get water tanks that the embassy wanted to donate for my garden project. The Moldovan Humanitarian Commission did not want to take them in as humanitarian aid and rejected the embassy's first request to bring them in, and rejected my request, but I found a friend of a friend who knew someone on the commission, and like magic, all is working now. It will probably be late Fall before I receive the tanks...but my project really begins in the Spring, and so, thank God I planned early...
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 11:38:52 -0700 (PDT)
Imagine eating all the cherries you could possibly eat. Not just today, but tomorrow and for the next two weeks. Then you have another variety of cherries to eat...
It all started one day when we were at a friend's house and they announced, "The early cherries are ready," and we proceeded to go to the tree in the yard and eat until we couldn't eat any more. The next day, our host family came to our door: "Let's go eat cherries, get a bowl." We couldn't say we had just eaten so many cherries the day before that we really didn't want any, so we went next door to the grandfather's house and ate cherries, picking them from the tree and spitting the seeds on the ground until our hands were pink with juice and we couldn't eat another. Of course, we had to take a bowl full for later.
Within a few days I was walking to a friend's house, and a co-worker's daughter saw and invited me in - to eat and take cherries home! This went on for about a week. I had kilograms of cherries in the fridge. Not wanting to waste the first fruit of the season, John and I pitted what seemed like an endless amount of cherries to make jam. When told of my silly idea to make jam from the early cherries, at least 4 people explained that that was not what they were for, they have no meat, they are not as sweet, the next type are for jam..... But when a friend ate the jam, it was surprisingly fine. I am sure they are correct - the others are larger and juicier and sweeter, but what do you do with at least 2 or 3 kilograms of cherries? I certainly couldn't eat another.
Our friends and neighbors are continuously bringing us food. Bread fresh from the oven (on the same day I just bought bread), fish caught at the local fish farm (the water is horribly polluted and I am not eating fish for that reason), home-canned fruit in 3-liter jars (enough for a family). The host family had a problem with rabbits dying in February. If the rabbit had died the night before, or was going to die, they butchered [it]. No one really knows what type of problem this was with the rabbits, but rather than losing them completely, they were butchered to eat.We were given some of this meat to prepare for ourselves, and were invited to dinner for rabbit and rice. (Why am I becoming more and more a vegetarian?) When I buy milk, the neighbor feels I pay too much, so she gives me a soft cheese rather like ricotta, now I must find a use for this.
You are thinking, "What is the problem, free food?" True, it is great, but we can't possibly eat all that is given to us. And generally we love it, but there is the problem of overkill. John has a method of putting small amounts of food in the scrap pail for the animals. I have tried to befriend the guard dog with bits of meat and cheese. I try to share food with other friends, explaining that we are just 2 people and they have 3 children and could eat the cheese or bread in one sitting. An American friend asked if we could drop some in the latrine - not a bad idea. We have had an instance when the 9-year-old host child told us the potatoes we had thrown away were just fine, he cleaned the eyes and sprouts off and brought them back to us. When friends or their children visit, I have to make up reasons as to why the loaf of bread they gave us is still uncut on the counter. They can't imagine that we don't eat a loaf a day, as lots of couples do. Sometimes it is amusing, sometimes it is frustrating, but it goes on and will continue. This is just a sample of Moldovan generosity.
Each day is an adventure. We get up with some idea of what we need to do - go to Agro Ext, school, meet someone, call someone... But when we leave the house (sometimes BEFORE we leave the house), we meet someone on the street, talk and plans change. Or it could be someone we know, a friend or co-worker, they start talking about the possibility of working on a small business project or they mention a situation about not having access to a service, the list is endless. Our work changes focus for a short while and we try to see where we can go with this need. Some become something, others are dead ends. It is difficult without [the] Internet [on] site. There are numerous needs that can't be met. We know some could be helped with the right connection, but it is hard (and very slow) to make that connection. In fact, most can't be helped, but without inquiring, we will never get a "yes" answer.
I wrote this a month or so ago and never sent it. Hope you are all well. We have 2 new volunteers with us for 3 days, we are feeding them well. This is our job as older volunteers. They count on us for that small comfort. We are well.
Lots of love,
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2002 11:47:33 -0700 (PDT)
Boy, have I been having a hard time sending a note. Tonight I have been kicked off 3 times so far, and the other day I never could send the message. But I will try again.
I am busy now writing a cookbook for Peace Corps Moldova. I probably told you. I am really having fun doing it, but it is a really rush job. It needs to be finished by Aug 12, really before, because I pass it on to others who will correct mistakes and put it in proper format, etc. So I am busily writing it down. It will be used for the new group and those of us old guys have to buy it, but I have the disk!!
I have a question - does anyone know of a place that would buy hand-painted eggs? There is a family that paints them and they are trying to find a connection to sell. If you know any store, please pass the email address on to me. Thanks.
Camp was so great. Thanks for all the support. Don't worry, this fall I will have a grant on the web through Peace Corps where you can donate TAX FREE. I will keep you updated. My friend has a web page with some pictures, I will get this to you all in the next few days.
Coleman and Rainy are coming to visit us. They leave the 11th of August and arrive the 12th. We are planning a big party by the Nistru River, we will go to the CD piata (open air market) and lots of other great places. If you have any small stuff to send, Coleman is in Liberty, but Rainy moved to Florida.
I am gearing up for the fall with a project (long awaited) to open a sort of meeting place for people of all ages in the community bildng, which is not used right now. We will have some seminars and classes there. This is all so slow - I have talked about it for months.
Everything is just great. We stay busy with friends in the village. We have had some PCVs visit, and that is fun, too. Not much news.
The summer is hot and before I know it, school will start and with that, classes. And Thanksgiving (I am in charge of [the] Peace Corps dinner). Time moves so fast.
Lots of love,