For the first eight weeks of my time in Moldova, I am living in a village called Stauceni. During this time I am in language, technical and cultural training six days a week.
Every morning is language class, which is frustrating and exhilarating in equal parts. I usually leave the mornings feeling drained; but anytime I can understand a question someone is asking me in Romanian and respond in Romanian, it’s a rush; and every second I’ve spent in class and studying is worth it. We have the most amazing teachers here; who are unbelievably patient and talented and so far I can answer and ask basic questions and convey basic things about my life here and in the states. (Keep in mind it’s been just over two weeks of classes; about 13 classes so far.)
Once these eight weeks are completed, (provided I meet the necessary requirements) I will be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer or PCV, but for now I am a PCT (Peace Corps Trainee).
During this these eight weeks our afternoons, (with the exceptions of Thursdays and Saturdays) are filled with technical training. This means sessions dealing with and discussing various cultural and technical skills (ie grant writing, PR, fundraising, surveying ect.), led by our two amazing COD trainers Anna and Violetta.
Thursdays involve lots of shots and various sessions lead by Peace Corps staff in Chisinau dealing with food safety, general safety and security and other sessions to help us get acclimated to life in Moldova and the Peace Corps. Saturday afternoons are a mix of cultural sessions lead by our language teachers and some self-directed work on technical training projects.
The most recent project in our technical training was to map Stauceni. This meant creating not only a physical map, but also a detailed profile on the community’s demographics, resources and culture, in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the community. Our team decided to each map the area around our homes and then come together to map the remainder of the community; using Google maps to help us place the landmarks. We also translated a series of questions about the community into Romanian so that we could interview our host families about the community. When creating the map, we wanted to not only show the areas that were important to us, (ie the cafe, supermarket, school, our homes and the homes of our classmates) but also to offer a larger picture of Stauceni, based on its physical landmarks and the information our host families had provided.
The first three weekends of our training (this being the third weekend) we were not allowed to leave Stauceni, unless we were going somewhere with our host family. However, starting next week we are allowed to travel around Moldova on the weekends! I am especially excited about being able to travel because this coming Sunday, is the end of Turul Moldovei, (which is a walk across Moldova lead by Peace Corps Volunteers) which coincides with a celebration of 20 years of volunteerism in Moldova in Chisinau.