March 10, 2005: Headlines: COS - Moldova: Grand Rapids Herald-Review : Sarah Krile writes about Life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Moldova: Peace Corps Moldova : The Peace Corps in Moldova: March 10, 2005: Headlines: COS - Moldova: Grand Rapids Herald-Review : Sarah Krile writes about Life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova

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Sarah Krile writes about Life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova

Sarah Krile writes about Life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova

Sarah Krile writes about Life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova

Life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova

Sarah Krile


Last Updated: Thursday, March 10th, 2005 12:13:38 PM

To commemorate the 44th anniversary of the Peace Corps, last week was designated National Peace Corps Week with national and international events to celebrate the mission of promoting better understanding between the U.S. and other nations.

A 1999 graduate of Grand Rapids High School, Sarah Krile is currently serving as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Moldova.

She explains what her life is like as a volunteer and what she has learned about the land and people of Moldova:

Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe bordered by Romania and Ukraine, and it is one of the poorest countries in Europe. As part of the former Soviet Union, it had no experience managing its own affairs at the national level. Thus, the transition period has created a range of economic, political and social challenges. Due to high unemployment and low wages, poverty is widespread, particularly in rural communities where the majority of the population lives and works. Many Moldovans lack clean drinking water and must struggle to find paying jobs and fuel to heat their homes in the winter. In fact, at least one-fourth of the population has left the country to work in places like Italy, Russia or Portugal in order to support their families.

Despite the challenges, Moldova is rich in hospitality and has fertile land that produces amazing fresh fruits and vegetables (except in the winter!). And Moldovans are very proud of their homemade wine (every household grows at least one vine of grapes and many own vineyards). I have been warmly welcomed into the town of Edinet in the north part of the country where I have been living since November of 2003.

I have learned the national language (Romanian), and I have been trying to learn the language primarily spoken in my town (Russian). I share a small house with a 73-year-old woman whom I call "Bunica," which means Grandma in Romanian. Her daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters live next door and share many meals with us. Her granddaughters have been eager to share their lives with me and we have spent countless hours playing card games, tossing a Frisbee, listening to music and making traditional Moldovan meals for various celebrations.

When I'm not busy at home learning to make Moldovan foods, I serve as a consultant for non-governmental organizations and other community initiatives. I work at a center for children and at the community center called Enter, which also serves as one of two local Internet cafes. Together with my Moldovan partners, I help raise funds and plan and implement events primarily for the community's youth.
I spend a lot of time trying to help create positive extracurricular activities for youth in my town and throughout Moldova by promoting the Odyssey of the Mind program, English clubs and youth groups. There is a lack of such activity for youth outside of the capital city of Chisinau (pronounced "quiche-e-now"), but a plethora of discos and bars exist where youth are welcomed. Fortunately, an increasing number of Moldovans are becoming interested in helping to implement community projects despite limited financial resources.

Because Moldova is a small country, I have had many opportunities to travel and visit some of the other 120 Peace Corps volunteers here. And, trust me, public transportation is always an adventure. Most roads are in very bad shape, and busses are usually very old and rarely make it through a trip without breaking down. I usually travel in a small van or "maxi-taxi" called a "rutiera." Drivers pack in as many people as they can, so sometimes I'll travel hours with a small, unknown child on my lap. It takes me an hour on public transportation to get to the nearest Peace Corps volunteer even though he lives just 18 miles away.

I had the wonderful opportunity to have my mother and sister visit me last August, and they discovered the adventures of public transportation, the generosity of Moldovan hosts and the great wines and fresh foods in Moldova. I'm sure that if you see them around in Grand Rapids they would be happy to share their experiences with you.

Throughout my time in Moldova, I have discovered a beautiful country that is a mix of modernity and poverty (I have better access to e-mail than I do to indoor plumbing!). I have faced challenges in my living conditions and in cross-cultural communication, but I have been rewarded with marvelous new friendships and the opportunity to deeply experience a new country and culture. My experience very well may be "the toughest job I'll ever love," just as the Peace Corps slogan suggests.
Peace Corps Moldova has four types of volunteers: English teachers, Health and Life Skills volunteers, Agriculture/Agribusiness volunteers and Economic and Organizational Development volunteers like me. We come from all over the U.S. and range in age from 22 to 79. Peace Corps service is about 27 months, which includes a 10-week training at the beginning on local history, cultural traditions, technical skills applicable to our assigned jobs, and intensive language training. During training, we live in villages with host families and it is there that I learned how to make homemade wine and to enjoy spending hours next to the wood-and-coal-burning stove with relatives chatting and eating.

Cele bune! (All the best!)

When this story was posted in March 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

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RPCVs in Congress ask colleagues to support PC Date: March 5 2005 No: 482 RPCVs in Congress ask colleagues to support PC
RPCVs Sam Farr, Chris Shays, Thomas Petri, James Walsh, and Mike Honda have asked their colleagues in Congress to add their names to a letter they have written to the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee, asking for full funding of $345 M for the Peace Corps in 2006. As a follow-on to Peace Corps week, please read the letter and call your Representative in Congress and ask him or her to add their name to the letter.

March 5, 2005: RPCV Groups in the News Date: March 5 2005 No: 483 March 5, 2005: RPCV Groups in the News
San Diego RPCVs host reception with Gaddi Vasquez on March 6 4 Mar
Alaska RPCVs speak for dividend 4 Mar
Western North Carolina's RPCVs sponsor Africa Night on March 6 3 Mar
Maryland RPCVs lobby their Senators for Peace Corps 3 Mar
Connecticut RPCVs hold fundraiser on March 5 3 Mar
Charles Baquet speaks at Louisiana PC Breakfast on March 4 28 Feb

RPCVs: Post your stories or press releases here for inclusion next week.

March 5, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: March 5 2005 No: 476 March 5, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Senate FR Committee approves $345 M PC budget 4 Mar
RPCV's "Kennedy's Kitchen" records second CD 4 Mar
Sam Farr asks Army to reconsider burial policy 3 Mar
Bayanihan jewelry designed by Philippines RPCV 2 Mar
Todd Vetter receives calling during PC service 2 Mar
Sargent Shriver still on Washington's A-list 2 Mar
Photographer Bill Owens publishes new book 2 Mar
Crisis Corps to open new program in Sri Lanka 28 Feb
PC wants new stories for "The Great Adventure" 28 Feb
Ukraine PCV asks "Is Bush right on Iraq?" 28 Feb
Carol Bellamy defends "feminism" in aiding children 28 Feb
John Bridgeland discusses role as Bush assistant 28 Feb
Paul Theroux recalls high times with Hunter Thompson 28 Feb
Elaine Chao Leads Delegation to Uruguay 28 Feb
RPCV reunites with friend after 40 years 27 Feb
Kay Muldoon-Ibrahim's photography on exhibit 27 Feb
Jim Doyle displays political brilliance on tax cuts 26 Feb

March 1: National Day of Action Date: February 28 2005 No: 471 March 1: National Day of Action
Tuesday, March 1, is the NPCA's National Day of Action. Please call your Senators and ask them to support the President's proposed $27 Million budget increase for the Peace Corps for FY2006 and ask them to oppose the elimination of Perkins loans that benefit Peace Corps volunteers from low-income backgrounds. Follow this link for step-by-step information on how to make your calls. Then take our poll and leave feedback on how the calls went.
Coates Redmon, Peace Corps Chronicler  Date: February 26 2005 No: 457 Coates Redmon, Peace Corps Chronicler
Coates Redmon, a staffer in Sargent Shriver's Peace Corps, died February 22 in Washington, DC. Her book "Come as You Are" is considered to be one of the finest (and most entertaining) recountings of the birth of the Peace Corps and how it was literally thrown together in a matter of weeks. If you want to know what it felt like to be young and idealistic in the 1960's, get an out-of-print copy. We honor her memory.
Make a call for the Peace Corps Date: February 19 2005 No: 453 Make a call for the Peace Corps
PCOL is a strong supporter of the NPCA's National Day of Action and encourages every RPCV to spend ten minutes on Tuesday, March 1 making a call to your Representatives and ask them to support President Bush's budget proposal of $345 Million to expand the Peace Corps. Take our Poll: Click here to take our poll. We'll send out a reminder and have more details early next week.
Peace Corps Calendar: Tempest in a Teapot? Date: February 17 2005 No: 445 Peace Corps Calendar: Tempest in a Teapot?
Bulgarian writer Ognyan Georgiev has written a story which has made the front page of the newspaper "Telegraf" criticizing the photo selection for his country in the 2005 "Peace Corps Calendar" published by RPCVs of Madison, Wisconsin. RPCV Betsy Sergeant Snow, who submitted the photograph for the calendar, has published her reply. Read the stories and leave your comments.
WWII participants became RPCVs Date: February 13 2005 No: 442 WWII participants became RPCVs
Read about two RPCVs who participated in World War II in very different ways long before there was a Peace Corps. Retired Rear Adm. Francis J. Thomas (RPCV Fiji), a decorated hero of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 at 100. Mary Smeltzer (RPCV Botswana), 89, followed her Japanese students into WWII internment camps. We honor both RPCVs for their service.
Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps Date: February 7 2005 No: 436 Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps
The White House is proposing $345 Million for the Peace Corps for FY06 - a $27.7 Million (8.7%) increase that would allow at least two new posts and maintain the existing number of volunteers at approximately 7,700. Bush's 2002 proposal to double the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers appears to have been forgotten. The proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress.

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Story Source: Grand Rapids Herald-Review

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Moldova



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