The reaction to me telling people that I was going to Moldova was always the same: Cool. But where is that again…? Everybody knows the country exists, but unsure of where it is exactly. Since I went there being part of a project, I thought I would share some information on the country and the project, hoping to create awareness for social projects around us.
On the map below you can see that Moldova is situated between Romania and the Ukraine.
From Frankfurt, I flew with Austrian Airlines via Vienna To Chișinău, the capital. Lufthansa as well as Air Moldova offers direct flights. I must admit I was really impressed with the airport in Vienna. They have the most comfortable couches. This must have been the first time time that I did not mind doing a transit flight and the time flew by way too quickly. And while I am on it, Austrian Airlines has a new fan, me. Returning from Chișinău, I realised that I was not going to get my connecting flight to Frankfurt. Low and behold, a car was waiting for me after taxying. I got driven straight to customs and security. Then I got driven to the aircraft. If this was not enough to make me feel special: we went to the entrance at the rear of the aircraft and knocked. The door then opened. Man it felt just like in the movies. So thank you so much, to the friendly staff of the airline as well as the friendly and patient guy from ground security. I somehow had so many loose “things” that I kept on asking him to hold onto or it took forever till I got everything together…
Anyway, to get back to my story . . .
My stay was not spent in the capital Chișinău, but a town called Fălești.
It takes about a 2hour drive with the bus. This could be anything ranging from a mini van to a real bus. At the bus depot, the layout is quite simple, even though at the first glance it does seem a little intimidating. Still I felt luckily for having Irena and Igor with me:-) Thanx guys.
1 Euro = 20 Lei (average)
Busticket from Chișinău to Fălești = 65 Lei (2 hr drive)
0,5l beer = 15 Lei (in a pub)
A wrap = 50 Lei (at the airport)
2,5l beer = 38 Leli (in a supermarket. And I learnt 1 bottle for 1 person :-))
1kg tomatoes = 5 Lei (on the market. They were always from the own garden and organic)
thank you – mulțumesc
Capital – Chișinău
Language – Officially romanian
Now you are probably asking yourself, why I am listing random facts about Moldova, right ?
I am registered with Freizeit Helden. They offer a portal for volunteer workers to find the right project. So many of us wish to be more socially active, but not everybody has equal amount of time available. Here you can find projects that are suitable for your skills and the amount of time you have available. Brilliant idea!
This is where I found the organisation Choice .e.V. Following their motto: Don’t wait, act now – I acted and signed up to join the team. Choice e.V. wants to sustainably improve the situation of children and youth finding themselves in precarious life situations. Last year they started a project for an orphanage/mentally handicapped centre in Moldova. A room that was in a dilapidated condition was to be fixed up. This meant the electric needed to be done, windows had to be put in, the walls were plastered and the floor was levelled with screed.
This year the work was to be continued. The recreation room was to be finished, a patio was to be created and a Playground of Possibilities (#Spielplatz der Möglichkeiten) was to be built from scratch. This should provide the kids the possibility to freely unfold and develop themselves.
In Fălești . . .
The orphanage/mentally handicapped centre we went to is called: Pentru-Voi, which translated means For You. It in fact is a complex offering social services. One can find orphans who permanently live there or kids who only come for a certain period. Also adults with intellectual disabilities are taken care of.
Even though it was not always easy to communicate with words, we made it possible with hands, feet, dictionary apps and google translator where possible. This way we could communicate with the staff and children. Yes, small talk is possible without words:-) It was quite heartwarming to see how the relationship developed within such a short period of time. It started off with everybody being quite shy. It then developed further into greeting each other, playing with each other, exchanging gifts and taking turns with the tasks.
Moldova might be known as one of the poorest countries, but so rich in the warmth and openness that newly made friends are met with.
Meeting new friends . . .
I loved the creativity . . .
Moldova is known for its wine and Cricova is one of the largest wine cellars in the world, with 120 km of tunnel-like storage galleries. We were fortunate to try some homemade wine with a lunch that was prepared for us. Really delicious.
And lastly, as we all know . . . All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy . . .
We started working at 9 am (after we had breakfast) till way in the night. Even doing night shifts at time. As compensation, the comedian or creative side in all of us appeared at some time or the other…
The awesome team . . .
But before I get back to work . . .
… let me take some selfies
On a more serious note . . .
The experience was food for thought. I feel blessed and grateful that I was able to help. The warmth of everyone grounded and humbled me. The quality of life is not influenced by material quantity. This sets off the question: What and how much thereof do I actually need to live a fulfilled life and be happy. Which is what we all strive to be after all…
So, that was it for part 1 of my Moldovan project. I will be posting part 2 to show you how we went about building the Playground of Possibilities (#Spielplatz der Möglichkeiten). If you do not want to miss this post, do not forget to subscribe to my newsletter.
Have an awesome day and stay as awesome as you are.