Learning about permanent site placement and my primary partner organization

During week 4 of our training, we had a day filled with much excitement and a little nervousness as we found out the location of our permanent sites.  I had been wondering how they would share with us about our permanent site placement as it would include not only where we would live but also who we would work with for the next two years.  For a COD volunteer, finding out who our primary contact would be provides information about what your primary project will most likely be.  The options include Primaria (Mayor’s office), Biblioteca (Library) or an ONG (NGO/nonprofit).   For our training sites, they gave us a slip of paper with some general information about the family and the name of the village. I figured that they would do something more than that but wasn’t sure what.  They we heard rumors about a map but I was not sure how it would be used. (Note: Spoiler Alert- stop reading here if you are a soon to be volunteer, finding out about your site placement is a fun experience and I felt like the “not knowing” of the process made it even more enjoyable.)

We had several training sessions during the morning and we tried our best to stay present and participate in the activities; however, we were all very excited about the site announcement.

Then the time came and they shared the process with us.  One of our advisors gave us some words of wisdom that we should make sure to really enjoy the moment and be excited about the situation. It is interesting how we can form expectations about our future and not really realize that the expectation is sitting there waiting to be evaluated against.  Was I going to be in a town or a village? Where in Moldova would I be? Would I work with a Primaria, a Biblioteca or an ONG?  Would I be with a large family or small family? Would they work outside the home?  Would they have a large graden/family farm? animals?  So many questions waiting to be answered.

We met outside in the front parking lot where the language teachers had drawn a large map of Moldova. There were names of towns written all over the map.  We stood in groups based on our sectors.  We were given blindfolds and after we blindfolded ourselves, either our language teacher or a program manager walked us to our spot on the map.  The excitement was building as each of us was placed and we could start to hear the voices of the other volunteers that would live near us.

There was a count to three and we all removed our blindfolds at the same time.

I was standing far away from Chisinau (the capital) in the far south-east of Moldova. Where am I?

I will be working in a small village called Tudora in the Ştefan Vodă district. I will be working with an NGO that supports youth in an after school program, a small cultural museum, a cultural festival NGO and a library. It is near a large forest, the Black sea and an excellent winery (Purcari). There are several other new volunteers and a current volunteer in the Ştefan Vodă district however, the closest volunteer to me is probably 30 minutes away by rutiera.

 I am very excited about my placement and will share more about Tudora and my partner as shortly after this day each of us went to our permanent sites for an overnight stay to meet our host families and see the community.

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