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Moldova, Peace Corps

Balti, Moldova

This weekend I went on a visit to my future site, where I will be living and working starting in August. Sunday morning I left Stauceni, to meet my future site mate Barbara to brave the trip together. We met at a bus stop outside Chisinau to head to the station (Gard de Nord) where the Rutiera (mini-bus) to Balti leaves from. We had no problem finding the bus or buying a ticket, but as soon as we got on the bus we saw it was packed. We grabbed the last two seats, Barbara at the front, right by the door and me at the back in between three teenage boys, who had head phones in and seemed not to notice me, other than looking curiously over at my notebook as I spent the ride studying Romanian phrases and questions for the meetings with my new co-workers and host family.

The trip was smooth, in the sense that I arrived in Balti just fine and in just over two hours – even with lots of stops to take on new passengers and let off others along the way – but I got a chance to experience the state of the highways here and let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t get car sick (it was a bit of a bumpy ride).

I was met at the train station by my future co-worker Anna and someone from the NGO we share an office with, named Caterina, both of whom were not only welcoming but also spoke english! We went immediately to see the offices and put my bags down, before beginning our mini-tour of Balti. I could (and I’m sure will over the my two years living in Balti) devote several posts to just the downtown area of Balti, but for now let me give you the highlights of the tour that first day.

The downtown area, which is where I will be living is a walking section of the city divided by a beautiful tree-lined promenade and a large square. Next to the square on one side is a park and on the other is the Primeria (mayor’s office) and the largest statue of Stefan Cel Mare (I know I owe you all a post soon explaining his significance here) in Moldova.

There is also a WWII tank, set up on pedestal, facing the square, with the number 720 on it. Caterina and Anna both made a point to tell me I needed to know that number because I would get asked it and today someone did ask and was impressed that I knew it – it seems a way of showing you are a true resident of Balti. We also toured the local University, which is where my host mom’s office is and then headed over to my house for a mini-masa (large celebratory dinner).

Largest Stefan statue in Moldova.

Largest Stefan statue in Moldova.

The tank.

The tank.

MoldTelecom building, which is refereed to as the clock building because of the large clock on its front.

MoldTelecom building, which is refereed to as the clock building because of the large clock on its front.

Alecu Russo University - Balti, Moldova

Alecu Russo University – Balti, Moldova

Balti, Moldova

Balti, Moldova

The main promenade.

The main promenade.

A beautiful church in Balti.

A beautiful church in Balti.

A really pretty outdoor amphitheater.

A really pretty outdoor amphitheater.

Just one of the many beautiful churches in town.

Just one of the many beautiful churches in town.

The beautiful roses my host mom bought me to welcome me!

The beautiful roses my host mom bought me to welcome me!

The promenade from my window.

The promenade from my window.

After dinner that night I went to meet with the other volunteers who will be my future site mates in Balti – Robyn who will be teaching English at a local Russian high school, Barbara who will be working with a group promoting women in business and David and Matt who are both PCV’s currently living in Balti (they’ve been here for the last year).

My host mom insisted on taking me to get wine and cheese at a really pretty little french place near our house – Le Bistro de Paris – which was great not just because the wine and cheese were good (I’ve missed brie) but also because we talked for almost two hours which is impressive because she knows even less English than I do Romanian.

The next day I met my partner, Natalia, the Director of the NGO, CasMed, discussed what my role would be in the organization, developed a three-month plan and shadowed her on a visit to a neighboring Raion. The visit to Balti’s was so much better than anything I could have hoped for and I feel so positive about living and working there.

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Discussion

10 thoughts on “Balti, Moldova

  1. Leah, it looks lovely. I am sure that you will enjoy your stay there.

    Posted by Juanita | July 9, 2013, 10:06 pm
  2. Glad it was a positive experience… so excited for you… you will do/are doing GREAT THINGS! 🙂

    Posted by christina | July 9, 2013, 10:29 pm
  3. Looks gorgeous! You better hit those churches up for me.

    Posted by Julia | July 24, 2013, 7:11 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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