This is the view from my bedroom balcony, where I am woken most mornings by the local cockrels and dogs barking. In the evenings, along with distant dogs barking, I can hear the sounds of crickets chirping.
Saturday 10th September 2011
Well, where do I begin? Saturday started well, I had to be at the airport for about4amto book in. Soo, my sister, dropped me off at Heathrow, stayed a bit and then left me to my own devises.
I checked in my luggage, and settled down with my iPod to wait for the gate to be called.
The gate was called and we all got on to the plane. Not long after, we started to taxi along the runway. We are going, I thought, this is it, the beginning of my 2-month adventure.
Uh Uh, this was not to be. We sat there for about 10 minutes, just waiting for our slot, I thought. Another 10 minutes on, that announcement, I did not want to hear, there is a problem and we have to go back to the gate again.
There we sat for another hour.
The large group that were headed toIraqhad all missed their connection, they left the airplane first, and we never saw them again.
The rest of us were all told that we could leave the plane and headed back to the departure gate. Here one by one the gate operators arranged, by phone, our new journeys.
I was told that instead of going toVienna, then toMoldova, I would be going toBucharestinRomania. When I got to the booking desk, the queues were so bad; I had to wait another half an hour. I was then told, nothing forBucharest, I would be going toMoscowinstead.
Well, I have wanted to back toRussiafor a while, but I did not expect to be inMoscowso soon.
The flight would be at10.40pmMoscowtime (+3hrs). Well, you guessed it, that flight, was also delayed, so we did not leaveMoscowuntil around11.30pm.
An interesting flight, food was good, and free drinks also, but I think that some of my fellow travellers had already had a few too many to drink before the flight, two guys came on to plane with their cans in their hands, still drinking, and the flight attendants did not try to stop them. After 15 mins of drinking and talking to everyone who would listen, he fell asleep and slept for the rest of the journey, with the occasional grunt and movement.
We arrived inChisinau,Moldova, a little late, but my contact was their to meet me. The same could not be said about my luggage, which we later found out was still inMoscow. (I got it back late in the afternoon of the 3rd day).
We eventually got to my host family about1.30amin the morning. A quick hello and off to bed.
Sunday 11th September 2011
My room is bright and airy, and has a balcony, but at1.30amin the morning, there is not much to see from it at this time of the night.
I was soon in bed and it did not take much to fall asleep.
Waking around9.30am, I could hear dogs barking, and chickens clucking and cockerels crowing just around the house. The local houses are quite old and each have a plot of land around them to grow some food crops.
I unpacked the few possessions that I had with me, and started to make my self at home.
Sveltana my host mother was soon knocking at my door to say that breakfast/brunch was ready. This consisted of rice, meat & vegetables wrapped in vine leaves. Unusual for breakfast, but still quite tasty.
After breakfast, I went outside and sat in the sunshine, where I soon made friends with the two family dogs, Feebie & Missy. Soon after Elisa, the daughter of the family arrived home after a trip toRomania.
I later went back into the house and had a bit more of a catch-up sleep.
Around3pma further knock on the door introduced myself to Jose, a Portuguese volunteer who was also staying in the house, he informed me that lunch was now available. This was a very nice soup with pasta and meatballs.
Jose has been taking Russian lessons while he has been here and is able to chat quite easily with Svetlana, I was surprised how much I could understand and join in.
This conversation lasted a couple of hours, and after that we went back to our respective rooms for a while. I took advantage to have a nap again.
After our evening meal, Anatol , our host father came home from his work and joined us at the table to talk with us both. We also enjoyed a large water melon.
Before retiring for the evening, we were introduced to his wine cellar and his large collection of bottles from various celebration dates in his life. He opened a bottle of Moldovan wine which we enjoyed.
He has also three large square vats of home made wine which he offered us, and we gratefully tried. He also handed us a glass of a drink which had pieces of fruit he had grown in his garden, I am not sue what type of alcoholic drink that it was, but it was very pleasant.
The off to bed.
Monday 12th September 2011
After another good sleep, breakfast followed. At9am, Iana came to collect me and take me to the main office for my induction.
After a short trolley bus ride and a walk, we entered the Projects Abroad building, were we were introduced to the office team. Copies of my passport were taken and other papers were filled in, booklets and a t-shirt were given to me.
There was another volunteer there, Sylvia, fromItaly, and the pair of us was given a short tour of the centre of Chisinau. Various statues and monuments, this museum and that museum, the opera house, the post office etc were also pointed out to us.
This was finished with us having lunch with Igor the director, and some of the office team.
We then were taken back to our own homes for the rest of the afternoon.
After dinner, Jose and I headed towards the centre of Chisinau for a beer. We could not stay too late as we are not to let the hosts wait us late for us, we have a deadline of10pm.
Tuesday 13th September 2011
After breakfast Jose and I headed off to the centre again, this time we went to some of the markets, both bric-a-brac style, food and second hand, almost everything that you might want, and a lot of what you might never want.
We also went to Chisinau railway station, very basic, he said there might be no more than 20 trains in and out each day.
Back to the house for lunch, and the collected again by Iana, who would take me to my work placement and introduce me to everyone.
Thankfully Jose will be working there for the next two weeks, so I won’t be alone (at first).
The journey, I found out, will take about an hour each day, and include two trolley bus rides, and some walking.
The home, Casa Gavroche, is quite a small building, pleasant, but basic. It houses about 20 children who are being re-habilitated. Most children have parents who are either abusive or alcoholics, it is so sad. But the children seem to be very resilient and bounce back quite quickly. What I found very encouraging was the happy faces and smiles.
We arrived around2pm, with most of the older children still at school, this left four very young children left in the home, the oldest not more than 5 years old.
After the initial giggling and pointing at you, they soon came over to see who this new person was. Again, not long after they wanted to climb on you, sit on your knee, or be carried. They also wanted you to swing them around, so they could be dizzy.
Oxana (I thought was Roxanna), Dimitru, Victor and Ruslan (the smallest) all enjoyed the attention they were given by us. It seems that the teachers/carers did not have that much time to give them.
A little later the older children started to arriveback from school. Most went straight inside to watch the evening soaps, but a couple stayed outside to play with the little ones, or to play football.
We stayed until about4pm, and left. We had to make sure that Victor and another child Valery stayed inside the grounds, and not follow us up the road.
Jose and I headed back to the centre where we met another volunteer, and sat in an outside café/bar for a couple of well earned beers and some crisps.
We stayed until about6pmand headed back home for dinner. We chatted for a while, then headed of to our rooms and have an early night as we were planning to go into the centre before work tomorrow.
Wednesday 14th September 2011
We left the house about9.30amand headed into town, another very warm day again. Its about a 20 minute walk to the trolley bus stop, and the temperature was rising, so by the time we reached the stop we were ready for a bottle of lemonade from the kiosk.
The bus arrived packed, we squeezed on and held on tight to the rails and headed into town.
After walking along the mail boulevard, we went into a shopping centre (Sun City) and had a quick look around, lots of concession type of shops. Then we headed to the post office to get some card & stamps, after that we decided to sit in an open air café and drank some iced lemon tea, very welcomed in the hot weather, which was heading up towards the 90’s.
After some lunch, we headed towards the children’s home.
When we arrived, the younger children were having lunch (the older ones being at school). After they had finished, they all appeared like whirlwinds, jumping up and welcoming us, and wanting to be carried or hugging us.
I had brought with me, a giant bubble blowing stick, which they all loved to see and blow some bubbles. Then the children wanted some of the fruit off a tree just outside the fence. A long stick was found and Jose proceeded to knock them off the tree. Then the children started stomping on them, then we found out it was a walnut tree
Well done and thanks to my Pioneers, who collected £89.24 (and 1 Euro) during CoCamp International camp for my Shave Off.
When my moustache and beard were shaved off.
I will be using the money to buy toys/craft items for the childrens home that I will be working for.
Thanks also to Anne Gowers, Jamela Abdullah-Cox & Duncan Buttle for their donations to the fund raising.
Also thanks to Saleem from the Honeypot Lane Canons Park Launderette for the selection of baby clothes given for the orphanage.
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