Sunday, February 1, 2009

Back in Chisinau, Moldova

Here we are back in Moldova! We left Waco on Friday morning at 11 am and drove to DFW. We flew from DFW to Frankfurt, had a six hour layover, and then flew in to Chisinau. We got here at 6:20 p.m. Saturday, Moldovan time, which was 10 am Saturday in Waco. We had been traveling for 23 hours. Our flights were good and uneventful. The plane to Frankfurt was not very comfortable as the seats were very close together and almost no leg room. Preston moved to a bulk head seat to sleep and that gave me two seats to sleep in.
Oleg and his brother Vitali met us at the airport and brought us to the house where we stay. We were so glad to see all of the family and they were happy to have us back. We had dinner with them and visited for a while. I was very tired and we went to bed about 9:30 and told them we wanted to sleep in Sunday and not go to church. Well, did we sleep in! We woke up at 2:00 Sunday afternoon! Danik, the six year old, asked his mother if we would eat breakfast or lunch when we got up.
We spent Sunday visiting with the family and with the three social work students from Baylor that are doing their internship here.

We have very comfortable accommodations. The family gives up their space for us when we are here. We have two rooms, one for sleeping and one with a table for computer and space to relax. There is another room that we share with the family which is their dining room and living room. We also have our own bath room. So they take good care of us. Lucia, the mother of the family, doesn't want us to do anything. She won't even let us help serve the meals or clear the table.

The weather is about 32 degrees but the house is very warm. So warm that we wish we had brought some short sleeve shirts and summer pajamas. We haven't been out since we got here so I am sure we will be glad for the warm clothes when we do.
It is 5:30 am Monday as I write this. I think my body is still on Texas time. We have both been awake for a while and finally decided just to get up and get something done!

We would love to hear from you. We can get our e-mail messages at our regular addresses: and
Will talk to you again soon.

This is Preston and I'm following up on Genie's comments. It feels good to be back in Moldova and Alex's and Lucia's home. I was afraid Danny the 6 year old would not remember us. There was no need to fear! He remembers us well and lots of things we did while we were here last time. He greeted us with big hugs and several times since out of the blue attacks our legs with a hug. We have not had much time with Vadim, Irina, and Inna the older children. They were out doing young people things Saturday night and of course we slept too too long Sunday. I thought I had regressed to my teenage years. Vadim and Irina are much the same but Inna has become a lovely young woman in the two years since we were here.

To our surprise, we found a new member had joined the family. Elijah is a 17 year old young man who has just aged out of an orphanage and come to live with the family as did Maria who joined the family 3 years ago. We have spoken and written a lot about what a remarkable young woman she is. She has been spending some time with a sister so we have not seen her yet. Our interns have had some interaction with her and tell us she is working as an English interpreter. Amazing, when she moved in with the family she spoke only Romanian, she quickly picked up Russian from the family and when we were here in 2007 understood a lot of English but would not try to talk with us. Now she is an interpreter. Alex says she is the top student in her school. Elijah, is a handsome young man with a quick smile and wonderful English. Joy, Leah, and Megan the Baylor social work interns had already met him before we got here because he is in the CERI (Children's Emergency Relief International) transition program. Alex and Lucia are in US terms foster parents for Maria and Elijah.

For you Baylor School of Social Work family folks: If you ever wonder if what we are doing works the answer is a mighty "Yes". We had an amazing visit last night with the 3 interns. They could not say enough about how well prepared they were for their work here. They have had to be incredibly flexible and resourceful. Because of changes in the government they essentially had to recreate their own jobs and they did that in remarkable kinds of ways. For example, Joy who is fluent in American sign, discovered an agency that works with the hearing impaired. She is now leading groups to empower them using, "the strengths perspective and ecological framework." I'll write a whole post on that later. Time now to get ready to go to the college. I sure wish I had one of the BSSW research professors here to teach in my place.

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