Intro: tell me a little or a lot about you. Up to you!
I’m Barbara, Small Enterprise Development Consultant, working in Balti for the Asociatia Femeilor de Afaceri (a business women’s association which has benefited men and women about equally). I’m one of the “mature” volunteers having retired from the human resources profession in 2010. I hail from that glorious city San Francisco, CA, but grew up on Long Island, so I had the best of the two coasts!
- How did you end up here? In this moment, in this time, in this place?
I ended up here because Peace Corps put me here.
What drove me to Peace Corps? I had always wanted to live abroad as a local and take part in the local community and culture rather than just dropping in as a tourist for a few days. In my career, I had co-workers based in other countries and learned how to work with them, about their culture, and complied with their countries’ laws. I felt I had valuable experience from my lengthy career that would be of benefit to a developing business enterprise. Peace Corps was the way to go, and it’s been a journey of discovery ever since landing here.
- What’s your favorite thing about Moldova?
I’m enamored that flowers represent symbols of beauty and respect for multiple situations here. Of course, they’re given to women for all kinds of occasions – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, first day of school, special holidays, international women’s day, and on and on. Yet even on certain public holidays, flowers are laid at the statue of Stefan cel Mare or at war memorials or at gravesites as a sign of honor and respect. It’s so enchanting to see hordes of people on the streets each carrying bouquets of flowers.
- What’s your least favorite thing about Moldova?
The toilets, need I say more?
4. A story or lesson from your service?
A nod of the head, or a spoken “Da”, doesn’t necessarily mean approval or permission to do something. The Moldovans are a polite people and don’t like to criticize or show dissent in public settings. When I put forward ideas to my organization and explained their benefits, my colleagues would nod, smile, say “Da’, all of which are signs of agreement. However, I quickly learned that individual agreement was not the same thing as institutional readiness for the changes.
- What do you miss most about “home” wherever that may be?
Of course, I miss my family – son Nathaniel and daughter Amanda, and many relatives and friends, but they support me in every way. They know that I routinely like to make changes in my life, to try new things and take risks.
Moldovan food is delicious but I miss my Chinese food!
- Knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again?
- Quote or song or picture that sums up your service?
Learn, change, and grow!