February 17, 2009
We are back in the classroom this week learning more about the Moldovan way of life.
The students presented their research projects Monday morning and as they do so we learn more about Moldova. Several of their projects related to education for children in the boarding schools. (We have previously called them orphanages but now they are referring to them as boarding schools which is more accurate since most of the children have parents but they have left the country or are not able to care for the children.) I wondered why they were so intent on 15 and 16 year olds having a career plan. I knew that in the US a 15 year old may change ideas about careers several times before they decided. Children here are required to go to school through the 9th grade. Then they can go on to high school or enter a trade school. Those who go to a trade school are more likely to find jobs than those who finish high school and even those who go on to college. Having a high school or college education does not prepare them for the jobs that are most available in Moldova. Very different from what we have experienced in US.
We were told that there are no babies in the boarding schools and we wondered where the babies were. They are still in the hospital. Babies whose parent/s don’t want them or cannot care for them leave them in the hospital. Someone told us of a child that is 6 years old who has been at the hospital since birth. That may not be unusual but I don’t know that for sure. I don’t know who takes care of them in the hospital or if there is a part of the hospital that houses them that is similar to a boarding school.
I am surprised at how appreciative people are of anything we give them. An undergraduate social work student helped Preston find some books in the library and when we were leaving he gave her a pen and note pad with the School of Social Work logo on it. She was so appreciative and then saw “Baylor” on it and was so excited to have it. The smallest gift is a big thing to these students.
All the graduate students in the class have laptop computers. Preston had asked them to bring them to class to use for the statistics course. We thought some of them would have to share with others because we didn’t expect everyone to have access to a computer. But they all have one! Vadim told us that you can get one for $250-300. They are not new but he says they are very adequate.