Reporting from Moldova

by Carol Stadden, Peace Corps Volunteer
Spring 2015 InGear

Greetings from your roving Moldoveneasc Peace Corps volunteer reporter.

Moldovan teens out for a ride

Moldovan teens out for a ride

It is the middle of winter in Grozesti but that does not stop people from riding their bikes. Many of the roads are impossible to navigate with a bike but the main road, which has been under construction since I arrived, August of 2013, is almost complete! Many of the boys who helped to repair our shipment of bikes were part of the road construction crew. They would ride their new bikes to and from spreading stones and pouring tar this past summer. I know because I saw them on the days that I took a group of younger boys and girls to participate in a different “Hill Challenge” each week. Now that the kids had bikes with gears, they could actually ride their bikes up all the hills that surround our village. You cannot go more than 2k before you hit a steep incline. We crowned a “King and Queen of the Hills”. They were not awarded a polka-dot jersey but instead a bicycle gear pouch and inner tubes—compliments of the P4P shipment we received in June!

Taking his granddaughter to kindergarten

Taking his granddaughter to kindergarten

Fifteen of the bikes were sold to an enterprising Moldovan who will use them to improve tourism in the country. He helps pensioners rent out their vacant homes. He hopes the bikes will add more interest for potential tourists if they are placed at some of these “Hai la Tara” rentals.

With our shipment of 475 bicycles we also received about 70 sewing machines. All but 10 were distributed throughout the community. These 10 were earmarked for a sewing class at the high school. I recently helped the French professor write a grant for equipment to create a modern sewing classroom. We won the grant and will soon have sewing tables, fabric and thread, storage bins, mannequin, excellent lighting, a laptop, printer/scanner, and projector and screen. The class has started and the children are very excited. We were pleased to find that 6 boys were eager to take the class stating that they would like to design clothes someday. We will not only teach sewing and design techniques but entrepreneurial training as well. We want to give choices to the children who will not study at university after graduation. With the skills they learn in the sewing class they could possibly start their own business!

Migration is a huge problem for this country; we want to see the youth stay in Moldova. With the completion of the road this summer, I expect to see even more bikes out and about than ever before. So many people ride bikes in our village now that a sign was erected to warn incoming traffic. Isn’t it great! Bun Ziua!

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