Moldovan medicine

Those of you who have seen me in the last year know that I have become a HUGE fan of Vibram Five Fingers footwear.  In fact, “Those Toe Shoes” are all I wore during the last year in the USA.  And I have confirmed what I swore by at the time – they are the cure for back and knee problems caused by modern shoes.  I stopped wearing my Vibram’s during my initial weeks in Moldova, not wanting to stand out or cause undue concern in my village that some alien visitor had ported in to conduct genomic splicing experiments on their feet.  Boy, have I paid the price.

My left knee began aching dully a week or so ago, progressing – after a two mile hike in heeled sandals through downtown Chisinau a couple of days ago – into full blown pain.  I’ve been downing aspirin like candy and contemplating suicide before I recalled my lifesaving Vibrams (three pair) tucked into the side pocket of a suitcase.  I have sworn off shoes for as long as I can get away with it and lined up my lovely toe shoes for immediate implementation.  Between them and Nina’s garden pharmacopeia, I should be just fine.

What? Nina has a pharmacy???  (I can see a few ears pricking up and sense a few of you quivering…)  Actually, amongst her many and varied interests, she seems to know quite a bit about “natural” remedies.  I’ve already blogged about the raspberry masks; additionally there have been teas, and soups, and herbal rinses.  Last night, I got the leaf wrap.

After smearing my knee with honey, she covered it with a very large green leaf from a tree in her garden.  Though I asked her twice what it was, I can’t remember the name.  Then, the leafy knee was wrapped by an ace bandage, which was then all firmly bound up by a large dish cloth.  Then I was sent to bed.  Or at least to lie down (I promptly fell asleep.)  When I got up the next morning, the swelling had gone down noticably and the pain had decreased. We will wrap up again tonight and hope that Moldovan medicine keeps working along with the Vibram’s.

And now a big shout out to my angel in America – Robinmarie!  Received a package from her today in training – the COD manager brought it to our cluster site from the PC office.  I felt just like a soldier in Afghanistan: everyone gathered around me, longing for a taste of America, something to remind them of home. I’m the first one to receive a package here so I had lots of hands helping me open the box and had to shoo everyone away from the goodies inside.  (Although the box of Girl Scout cookies didn’t survive the crowd…)

I have a new friend – Sophie – who will be joining me on my adventure.  I’ve taught her a few words in Romanian already but she’s surprisingly shy about trying them out in company.  Ah well, I know how she feels…

So – I know it’s HUGELY expensive to send things here, but it really does make a difference.  It’s like being at summer camp for the first time and getting a letter from your mom.  You want to hold it and turn it over in your hands and smell the contents because you know that it was once held by someone dear to you and you ache to see their face or hear their voice or hold their hand.  I do fine most days, but I can sink myself into a bit of the blues if I dwell on home too much.  I think about all of you, probably too much.

Thanks Robinmarie for being the angel you are!  And you, too, Bart.  I received two of your postcards today along with the package.  Your poetry continues to bring beauty and inspiration.

3 thoughts on “Moldovan medicine

  1. Great post! Glad the alien shoes are a help. Before my knee surgery last year, I spent many a night with my leg covered in honey and wrapped in lettuce leaves. You are correct, it helps joint swelling a lot. Rubbing the first snow of the season on your face is supposed to cure something also, I forget what, but it looks cool doing it. How are the language studies coming?


    1. Hit another plateau. Know enough to know how much I don’t know. Damn, if they just didn’t talk so bloody fast…I thought Americans were bad, but these folks leave us in the dust!



      1. Well hello to Sophie! So gald to know the package made it! Can’t wait to see some pics of you and Sophie tracking the ground with your appropriate footwear, hopefully feeling better! And Honey, with all due respect, your beauty stands out in a crowd – not to mention your spirit and quite possibly Sophie may add to that – the toe shoes will just be a bonus. For some it might be the, “That explains alot” moment…LOL! You are an earthchild…mother…Goddess – own it girlfriend! Love you!


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