Today we started the third round of youth trainings in the program Salut, Balti. This round marks the first round that I have not been an active lead in developing, organizing and running, its been taken over by two other Peace Corps Volunteers in Balti, which is good and also for me, difficult. It’s been really hard to sit back and let other people take the reigns, running things differently than I would, and take over what I consider to be the largest achievement of my Peace Corps service, but ultimately this is a good thing – it means other people have adopted this idea enough to want to also commit their time to continuing it.
This letting go is made even easier by the fact that this program, that started as a meeting, then an idea — a crazy dream drawn on a white board in some soviet flat – has now been a reality in Balti for almost two years and is now a national program, called Salut, Moldova, that is active in 11 communities in Moldova, has funding, and has an international partnership with the national volunteering network in Poland.
One of these local chapters was started by another Peace Corps Volunteer, in the raion of Taraclia, in southern Moldova. Last weekend, was the final weekend of their program there and I was invited to help run some of the trainings. Helping during the first round of trainings of a new chapter across the country was a great reminder of how far this project has come and ultimately how many lives and mentalities it has the power to affect and change.
I also got to explore the beautiful town of Taraclia, Moldova, which was adorable. It was one of the few places I have been in Moldova that I think I would have liked to live more than Balti. I also had the chance to have a lot of really good, interesting conversations with youth there and it was really inspiring.