First impressions

Post date: May 13, 2019 6:57:47 PM

Now we have completed our first two full days here (Sunday and Monday) it’s a good time to get some first impressions from those who’ve come for the first time.

Sunday is the ‘rest’ day for Neemia’s activities (and hopefully for the Zama family too!); today, Monday kicked off the new week.

So let’s hear what people have to say so far…

Martin: The village is basic but not as poor as it could be. There are lots of friendly children around who have freedom to roam – on Sunday afternoon there were a lot playing down by the river.

The service at the Russian Orthodox church on Sunday was an interesting experience and a mix of ritual and devotion.

Today (Monday) we visited the village school for some English lessons where the pupils showed a level of skill in a foreign language above the levels in England, though what they are taught about the UK is a quaint mix of stereotypes and old-fashioned customs!

The Community Centre stands out in the village as a place were the love of Jesus is demonstrated through the faithfulness of Victor and his team. We have enjoyed times of prayer and worship with the team here as well as planning sessions for the week.

There is a love of God and a desire to serve him which is refreshing and challenging.

Olly: Moldova is surrounded by friendly and welcoming people, but the majority of those people need help and/or aid in some way. The scenery is great, there is a great community here and the hard work of Victor and his colleagues is evident when you visit the Community Centre, and when you meet the people working there as well as those who benefit from this as well.

There is a presence of God here and Victor and his colleague’s faith is shown through their great personalities, which helps them keep motivated in what they are doing and it’s clear to tell how much this project means to them.

I have enjoyed everything I am doing here with the experiences, and with them being very eye opening as well, which makes you come to appreciate everything you have yourself and also to come to grips with how hard it is for the majority of people here and possibly around the rest of Europe.

This also gives you a new narrative to what you think is happening in the world as we know it and what people go through at the other ends of the world. I will keep these experiences with me, as hard or as different as they are or have been, for the rest of my life.

Linda: I have found the people are very welcoming and generally very keen to be with us which is great! The Community Centre is in the centre of the village and at the heart of Victor & Lili’s work as the team outreach and encourage the people.

The team are organised, although plans can change by the minute! They are praying and planning more projects although resources are limited.

At this time of year everything is growing and Victor, in arrangement with the family at that house, is using an overgrown neighbouring garden to establish a place for the children to grow vegetables and flowers.

The work the team are doing is amazing and developing useful basic skills for themselves and the community. The real concern for me is employment, and the lack of paid work and all that brings.

Thanks to everyone for their initial thoughts there, and no doubt there will be more reflections later in the week as we get involved in all that’s going on in Cobani.

Returning to a more ‘chronological’ account of what’ve been up to, after Sunday’s Orthodox service and ‘second breakfast’ chez Zama (a Shire theme does seem to be emerging), we discussed the plans for the weeks, albeit with the usual ‘Go with the flow’ philosophy.

We then took the opportunity to sort out the kit we had brought, allowing Victor, Lili and the family a little peace, and took a walk to orientate people with the geography of where our different lodging places are relative to each other and the Community Centre.

We then extended this with a climb up the ‘Stânca’, an imposing rocky crag that overlooks the village.

By this time, with the sun full out after a brief shower, the temperature had risen quite significantly, so the climb enabled us to get some good exercise! From the top you do, however, get an excellent vista over most of the village, which follows a kind of horseshoe shape around the river.

As well as the expected livestock in the area…

…there were also some more exotic native species to snap.

So Sunday was a useful introduction to the village, rounded off with a time of fellowship with the Neemia team and Lili’s cooking for dinner, including our first helping of traditional mămăligă.

Today (Monday 13 May) after breakfast Rob excitedly went to successfully test out the recently installed Moldova Agroindbank cash dispenser at the Primaria.

As mentioned above, we then joined the weekly Neemia team planning meeting and then split up: Linda, Martin and Rob went to the village school for a lesson with Class 4 (year 6 equivalent)…

…then for some presentations by Class 6 (year 8) and the chance for some questions and conversation; Brian, Jo and Olly went with Victor and Mariana to help with the meal deliveries for the old people.

Back at the Community Centre we had a quick lunch and then organised a craft activity for the children who come to the After School Club run by Irina with help from some of the teenage volunteers.

So a fairly full day, although thankfully not as hot as Sunday and therefore a pleasant evening for dinner at Victor & Lili’s…

…and time for some unwinding and showering!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll be heading into Bălţi (roughly pronounced ‘Bults’) to pick up the items to provide food packages for families and the first of the sanitary supplies using some of the money we raised. We also need to get the wherewithal to cook a curry on Wednesday evening for the Neemia team and volunteers.

Going well so far then.

Check in again later in the week for the next installment from ‘Team Moldova’!