We have completed our time with the graduate students and today were with the Romanian undergraduates. There is a difference in teaching the two groups—age and experience. The graduates were so much fun because they could apply all the teachings to what they are doing or not doing in their practice.
Today the students asked if we meant the same thing they did when we said social worker. We were a little surprised at the question and asked what social worker meant to them. They said there are two catgories: social workers and social assistants. Social assistants are the trained, educated workers and social workers are untrained. We knew that the graduate students always referred to social assistants but they never mentioned the second category. We saw one of them in the hall and asked her about the two categories and she said that was not her experience. However, she was trained in Romania and not Moldova. She talked to the undergrads about it and they said it is true in Moldova. We are going to have to check this out with some of the faculty or other graduate students before we leave.
We were told before we came in 2005 that Christian women don’t wear pants or jewelry in Moldova. The graduate students did wear jeans and some wore earrings and occasionally a necklace. The undergrads seem to be much less likely to wear pants or jeans and not jewelry. So we think it is probably the college that promotes this standard rather than the Christian community as a whole. The girls in the family we are with wear jeans all the time even to church. When we talked about taboos in the undergrad class they even included Christian women wearing jeans and jewelry as a topic that is hard to talk about.
When it is cold here people don’t seem to dress in layers as we had assumed they would and as we are prepared to do. They all wear very warm outer wear—scarves, heavy coats, hats, gloves. But otherwise they dress much as we would if the temperature was in the 40s or 50s. They have on skirts or jeans and a light sweater or blouse. I don’t know if they even know about silk underwear or “cuddle duds!” Maybe we should tell them about them!
Last night right after supper we were watching “Spirit” with Danny while the others cleaned the kitchen. About halfway through the movie Alex brought us warm cherry pie with ice cream. The cherries were about three times as thick as they would be on cherry pie in U.S. It was wonderful!! We are really being spoiled! Lucia had canned fresh cherries last summer. It was slightly tart and just right with ice cream. I (Preston) really loves suffering for Jesus. Tonight we are having pizza made from scratch. Coming home is going to be tough. We are really being spoiled.
This afternoon we went with Alex to visit a privately owned orphanage in Chisinau. We visited a state owned orphanage in 2005 and some of you may remember the pictures we took there. This one was very different! There were only 30 children there and no more than four children to a room. At the state facility the bedrooms were large rooms with 12 to 15 beds, one right next to the next. They had a nice “homey” looking dining room, study rooms, and a large meeting room. They opened in 2002 and took children who were living on the street. They don’t require the children to leave until they are 18 and before they leave they help them learn skills they will need to provide for themselves. It has been funded by a Dutch mission group but will loose their funding in 2008. They are hoping to find new sources of funding and if not they will try to either find the children’s families or find families to adopt them. It is a very nice facility and it will be a shame if they have to close.
I talked to them about field placements. The director’s niece is a teacher at CTE in the social work program and is working on a degree in psychology. We met her in 2005. She takes her students there to visit, but I don’t think it is a field placement. The director did not have a very high opinion of Moldovan social workers, but seemed to have a high opinion of social workers trained abroad. We got the idea that even as we get people better trained here, it will take a time to over come the current image.