Thursday, February 15, 2007

February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!!

We brought those little conversational hearts with us and gave some to the class along with some Reese’s pieces (which everyone loves). They were all surprised that it is Valentine’s. They don’t celebrate in the way we do. They have it connected to religion since it is St. Valentine’s Day. We explained that it is not a part of religion in the U.S. but is a very capitalistic venture since all husbands and boyfriends are expected to be very romantic and buy candy, cards, flowers and other gifts. We wore red today and a couple of the students had on red. When we mentioned that it is a Valentine color they said they had no idea that there was a color of Valentine’s Day but could see how red would fit.

It is raining today. It is just a steady rain but not very hard. However, it has produced a lot of water! The house we are staying in is on an unpaved street. There has been a large puddle most of the time we have been here but today it is a LAKE! They were laughing about being able to go fishing in it because it is so large. This morning Alex saw several cars stuck in it. So Alex had Vitali drive to that spot and he took us in his van through the water to meet Vitali.

It is extremely muddy. Of course on this street we are in mud most of the time but because not many yards have grass they are muddy as well. It seems like every time we go out we get mud on our clothes.

The temperature today is in the upper 40s but feels colder because it is so wet and damp. The forecast is for very cold weather this weekend—in the teens! We have enjoyed the warmer weather and had decided we just were not going to have to deal with it being really cold. But it looks like we were wrong! Snow is predicted for Saturday and if this wet weather continues it may well be icy as well.

Even in this rain people have clothes hanging on the clothes lines! It makes me very thankful for Lucia’s washer and dryer! I (Genie) washed clothes yesterday and it took over 2 hours for the washer to complete the cycle. I kept going back to check and they would still be washing. She said she put it on a long cycle but I can’t imagine how it could be that long. She did not have a dryer when we were here last time but has one now. It also takes a long time and even then the clothes aren’t completely dry so we end up hanging clothes around our room for them to finish drying.
Many people have the flu in Chisinau. From a fourth to a half of students are absent from classes and many are in the hospital. Everyone keeps telling us to be careful, take our vitamins, and use hand sanitizer often. We hope our flu shots work on this strain of the flu!!

For those of you who came with us last time you will be interested to know that there has been absolutely no mention of chapel this time. I don’t know if they think we are too busy in classes or if they remember what we did last time and decided to forget it! Probably the former since they are generally most appreciative of anything we do!

We hit a real communication snag yesterday. Those who teach practice know that there is a set of skills known as the elaboration skills. They are skills the social worker uses to help the client tell her story and to elaborated on the details. Well, who would have ever thought that th ere is no word for elaborate in the Romanian language? Our translator, Slovic, and several students who know English struggled with it and finally came up with something but it became obvious that it was not exactly what we were trying to convey.

As we were talking about the 7 step helping process, one of the students asked if mezzo was the same as “group work.” As we talked more I realized that she had learned social work as casework, group work, and community organization. For some of you who don’t know social work terms and maybe even some newer social workers that terminology has been dead at least 30 years. That is how far behind modern social work they are.

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