Happy Return Home

Day 256“Oh, what are you doing here in Moldova?”, a young Moldovan couple asked me.

“Volunteering. And you?”

“We are waiting to get Romanian passports so that we can finally leave the country.”

“Hm.”

I decided to end my EVS about a month earlier. At home, only my brother knew that I was going home, and it was a surprise to the rest of the family. There were several obstacles on the way to Chisinau-Vienna-Brno-home, starting with a five-hour morning waiting at the airport. But as soon as I found myself in the Czech Republic, I was honestly excited. When I got home last night, it was funny to see that my family didn’t recognize me at all and had no idea what was going on. 😀

For me, Moldova was definitely one of the valuable experiences I have had through my life so far. And I have to say that I have never been so excited about the condition of Czech roads, drinking water, heating control options, showers with a constant self-set temperature, the possibility of throwing toilet paper into the toilet or normal flushing! Already during the bus ride, I smiled like a fool with every “please, thank you, excuse me”. The boy sitting next to me hit his head when getting up, said “shit”, looked at me, and then we both started laughing. 😀 As well as to the answer of the steward, who answered the question of what magazines they offer: “SEVEN and WHAT LIFE BROUGHT. But that’s even bigger bizarre!”

It is often said that Czechs start to appreciate what they have at home only when they start traveling more… there is something about it.

One final big thanks to everyone who was part of my volunteering in Moldova and for all the farewell lunches, dinners, coffees or yoga. In the end, even this time were tears included. And special thanks to my great colleagues for taking me to the airport with stylish snack in the form of bread and schnitzel! 😀

Karma Is Free

Day 247 – I promised my flatmate, that at least once I had to join her for watching the theater play in Chisinau. So we decided to realize this plan today and we laughed at the fact that we chose a stylish play called “Bus”.

“Hello, can we please have two tickets for today’s theater play?”

“I am sorry, but everything is already sold out.”

“Oh no! Please, isn’t it possible to do it somehow? Maybe just to buy tickets for places in the alley where we can stand?”

„Try to wait for a while, maybe there will be some places free eventually.”

“Excuse me, I would like to ask again if it’s going to be possible?”

“Wait a bit more please.”

The lady from the cash desk: “You know, ladies, we have a really kind director in our theater who would like to invite you to the play.”

Mr. Director: “Is it you ladies, who spoke English here a while ago? Here are your tickets and enjoy the show!”

And that’s how we got to the sold-out theater play for free and even got probably the best seats. After all, I was able to find something positive about local public transport…finally 💪 !

Mulțumesc mult! Большое спасибо  Театр С Улицы Роз 🥳 !

And in the end I would like to share with you a Moldovan way how to get rich in seconds 😆.

Politics aka Keeping Your Mouth Shut

Day 238 – What is the common thing between a promise to my mum, content of the volunteer contract in Moldova and work code of UNHCR? That I will, more or less, leave political issues aside.

Elections are approaching and not only the streets are flooded with a pile of leaflets, billboards or videos, but also my browser is under the daily invasion of electoral ads and spots. I moved to another apartment a few weeks ago, so I have currently an opportunity to observe all these political events from a very strategic place, which is located between the Presidential House, the Moldovan Parliament, the Chinese and Russian embassies…

(posters: “Comuniștii la putere – ordine în țară!” – “Communists in power – order in the country!” “Голосуем за социалистов это логично” – “We vote for the socialists, it is logical”)

Being a Czech in Moldova

Day 213 – What is it like to be a Czech in Moldova? Sometimes it’s an advantage and sometimes it’s really exhausting. I often meet people who know about Czechia more than just the fact that we have Prague. They also know other Czech cities, such as Český Krumlov, Mladá Boleslav, Plzeň, Pardubice. I met here several people who really like Czech products – beer, sweets, cars, shoes, and public transportation system (it’s not possible to see trams or underground in Moldova).

On the other hand, I must say that most of my conversations have a very similar scenario. Locals adore for example French or Italian volunteers who are able to communicate in the Romanian language, but as a Czech, you will usually hear just: “You are from Czechia? So, of course you speak Russian.” That’s all. Despite the long explanation, the locals don’t trust me as much and in 99 % of cases they switch to the second topic, which is life in the Soviet Union. Normally, these topics are so exhausting for me even in our country, and I really try to avoid them. However, here it’s more difficult for me. So I usually listen silently to long monologues about the qualities of food, services and products, about the established order and organization, about the availability of work and about the overall comparison of past and present. And how bad everything is. Then the questions about Czechoslovakia follow, the surprise that there is not only Czech but also Slovak language, as well as questions about the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia.

A few times I also came across sentences and questions like: “Czechia? That’s good, I like it, but I hate Germany. Nazis! Fascists!” “Are you speaking German? Who are you? Are you Germans? Are you fascists?” “What do you think about Putin in the Czech Republic?” “Which fairy tales do you think are better? Russian or American? Russian, isn’t it?”

And then imagine that a question about my work here in Moldova comes up 😅. I will then get stuck in the store for almost an hour because of all these topics and the huge number of questions.

And so sometimes I wonder how it would be easier if I just said that I was from a fictional country, I don’t understand much Russian and I’m actually just enjoying my holiday here 😏.

During my stay in Republic of Moldova, I was also asked to give an interview several times. So if you want to know (with a help of Google translator ) which associations of other people I heard when I said that I am from the Czech Republic, what Czech traditions seem unusual for foreigners and what I miss the most abroad, check this out.

Winter Clothes and Fundraising Campaign

Den 200„Excuse me, do you have any winter jacket for me?“

„We are sorry, but unfortunately there are no men’s winter jackets or shoes at the moment. Do you have at least a cap?“

„No, this is all I have.“

This situation only motivated me more to create my first fundraising campaign!

At the Charity Center for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, where I am volunteering, we are currently facing a complete shortage of winter clothing and shoes for men. Of course, my first idea was to ask for help lokals in Chisinau. For this purpose, I created a poster that calls directly for the donation of winter clothes to our center. However, who sometimes reads my notes from Moldova, the situation is really different from the Czech Republic. Especially in economic terms. For example, when I was going through second hands, I was struck by the fact that the prices there do not differ much from ordinary shops and the quality is really negligible. Oh, how do I appreciate now our Czech second hand shops 🙏 !

So I officially handed over more than 400 EUR to the management of our center, which I managed to collect as part of my winter fundraising campaign. Once again, I would like to thank everyone who helped me with the campaign. More than 30 people from over than 10 countries provided financial assistance, and hundreds of people from 4 different continents took part in sharing the campaign itself.

The campaign was primarily focused on donation of winter clothes, so I am very happy that we managed to get a large amount of clothing from local, expats, ambassadors, European EVS volunteers or American Peace Corps volunteers. For the first time, I learned about the Giving Tuesday Česko event and I even managed to establish a cooperation with the “FreeShop” event organized by the local ecological organization EcoVisio. Overall, I must say that I have learned a lot of valuable things thanks to the campaign, and I really appreciate the kindness of the people around me that I have often witnessed. I would also like to highlight very nice communication with Czech organizations, many of which provided me with valuable contacts, offered the organization of collections or sending clothes.

Almost every Wednesday, I also worked in a temporary center for asylum seekers, where CCR has a room with donated clothes. I tried to take over the clothes, organize it and use even a small space to make everything clearer. Here and there I had valuable helpers as well – not only did they help me with sorting clothes and decorating boxes with titles in all possible and impossible languages, but they also made sure that my own appearance did not fall into the stereotype. 😉

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