Drum roll, please…

Waiting is the hardest part

So the Peace Corps really knows how to make you wait.  First, the application process, which should’ve clued me in to their general modus operandi in getting news out to the eagerly awaiting recipient.  Then, the placement process, wherein you sit in agonizing pain waiting to find out where in the world you are going to live for the next two years (Africa? Mongolia? Khazikstan? Peru?)  Then, you get to your host country and have to wait a whole month for the final – biggest – question to be answered: what in the heck will I be doing anyways?

The lecture hall

Yesterday, they made us wait all day before announcing our assignments.  We had to sit through hours of language in the morning and then various lectures on how the decision process was made and how to accept the information that you will hear in a professional manner.  (Basically, buck up and be a grown-up, this is the life you chose when you signed up for the Peace Corps and we never promised you a rose garden, ladies and gentlemen.  In fact, we never promised you anything but “the hardest job you’ll ever love.”) They finally herded us all out to the front of the school to wait for another seemingly endless time while they “prepared” the announcements.

PCT Nicole in the lecture hall

Here is a video of the staging.  Someone is chalking in a very approximate map of Moldova on the school playground and pasting the raion centers and site placements inside.  The rest of us are milling about trying not to look as if we care where we are being sent (after all, we were all there for the CD’s lecture.) Despite that, most of us do care.  A LOT.  It’s somewhat akin to hanging out in the quad waiting to be asked to the prom.  Only it doesn’t matter how pretty or popular or rich you are – it’s all been decided by the big people at headquarters strategic ally matching host agency needs with volunteer skills and age and education and host family availability.

They called people’s names one at a time and you received your welcome letter and job description from your host agency work partner and then went to stand on your spot in the map.  Some poor souls were stranded way out in the perimeter with no one nearby (Patty.) Some of us were placed in the capital city of Chisinau (my friends Elsa and Romy – they were SO excited.)  I will be working and living in Hîncești, a raoin center (sort of a county seat) of 20,000 people about 40 minutes from Chisinau by bus.

Where in the world is Yvette – ah, Hîncești!

Hîncești is just below the fold in the map above, to the southwest of Chișinau.  My work partner is a younger woman who apparently worked for an bigger organization in the capital that now wants to start a smaller subsidiary in her own town of Hîncești.  It is an organization that is working to integrate disabled children into regular classrooms and civil society.  She is looking, basically, for a mentor during this process, someone with a knowledge of how to set up a non-profit or NGO and get it running effectively. How to get funding, grants, raise public awareness and create positive marketing for the cause.  I certainly want to be of help and know that I have pertinent skills to offer.  If only I get break through the language barrier.  (It has been difficult enough learning how to speak socially – learning business language and culture will be another challenging hurdle.)

I will be living with another Nina who is a single woman with her own apartment (yea! indoor plumbing!!!)  She apparently sells Avon for a living, though how one makes enough to live on selling Avon astounds me – she must be good.  I have a feeling I might be wearing a lot more make up in the future…

So after all the drama and mental exhaustion of the day, a group of us went to the Beir Platz to celebrate.  We all marked each other’s maps of Moldova with our new site locations.  The M26s helped translate our welcome letters. I had a shot of tequila.  It was divine.

Ross, Elsa, Beni, and Romy
Jesse (M26) Warren and the picture Patty will kill me for sharing
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2 thoughts on “Drum roll, please…

  1. That sounds like an amazing assignment, Yvette. I like the living with a Avon Lady part. In regards to your work assignment, does the Moldovian government have things like “grants”?

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    1. They do. And there are also many international aid groups funding projects in Moldova. Including the Romanian government, because there are so many transplanted or – how would you say – repatriated? Romanians living in Moldovan due to the historically shifting borders.

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