After visiting my site in the village of Peresecina in the raion (county) of Orhei, I have returned to Milestii Mici with a renewed vigor for the Romanian language. I need to start learning SO much more vocabulary and fixing my grammar. There are so many things that I want to communicate to my partner but I can’t because of my limited knowledge of the language. I probably should start trying to write these posts in Romanian… or at least orally translating them… maybe that would actually help.
My partner is a really nice woman and very in tune with the needs of the farming groups in her area. From what I understand, most of my time will be spent in the office assisting the public with making copies (we have a copy machine open to the public for a small fee), working on the website, and assisting with any and all projects that present themselves. I know that she works frequently with a group of women who are a part of a farming cooperative. With the help of USAID they also started a farm store (similar to Walker’s Farm, Home and Tack) but on a smaller scale. As new customer needs are identified the group tries to increase their product availability. They also have a demonstration plot next to the store where any new varieties of plants can be grown and shown to wary buyers. All produce from this plot is sold for a profit to benefit the cooperative as a whole. I cannot wait for all of the eggplant to be ready… I will be making eggplant rollatini, eggplant Parmesan and oh so much more. Yum!
I am really excited to begin working on some new and innovative marketing efforts as well as putting together some seminars (especially for the women of the community). I know that previously a volunteer in my village started an Odyssey of the Mind team at the school and something along those lines would also be very interesting to me.
I think for my thesis I am leaning more towards a topic in e-agriculture and m-extension, meaning looking at the electronic resources and technological aspects of agriculture and use mobile phones for extension.
My new host mom is a sweet, kind and PATIENT person. She has also had previous volunteers and understands the different eating patterns of Americans. We spent a lot of time giggling about what a picky eater her last volunteer was. She kept asking, “Why is it that Americans like sauce (meaning ketchup), but not the real tomato?” I really couldn’t answer her question other than Americans really like sugar and vinegar and those are both ingredients in Ketchup. I am excited to start a new chapter of Peace Corps service in my new village. It is going to be very exciting and also difficult. I know I will have to begin the process of community integration all over again… but it’s usually not too hard to meet people in a small town when you stick out like I do (blonde hair, blue eyes, different clothes, etc.).
More to come soon…
P.S. I bought my ticket for my big brother’s big day in September and now I am SO excited to come home!!!