Category Archives: Pictures

Hello!

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Hello All!

Just wanted to say a quick hello. I’m in the middle of traveling and will update you all soon when I get back home. Here are some videos that some of the PC staff put together from the TTT and GLOW camps I was a part of this summer. Enjoy!

 

 

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All Vol

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This past week I was in Bucuresti for the annual All Volunteer Conference/ My group’s Mid Service Conference or what we just prefer to call “All Vol”. After my “camp” In Singeorz, The group and I headed on an overnight train down south to hang out at Jeremy’s site (Valea Calugareasca) for a little bit before we were due in Bucuresti. We arrived to Jeremy’s at about 8am and headed straight to bed. After having a very long and much needed nap we set out on our main mission and that was to meet this infamous “Nicu”. Nicu is Jeremy’s very good friend who he randomly met one day when inquiring about the various colored 5 liter sized jugs in front of his house. Click here to read Jeremy’s post. We did not only go over to Nicu’s for the intention of meeting this legend, but also to buy copious amounts of amazingly tasting wine. After about an hour of touring the crama, tasting all the wines, getting to personally suck out the visinata from the barrel, we headed back to Jeremy’s house with a total of 25 liters of wine and 6 liters of visinata.

Sunday we arrived to the Rin hotel outside of Bucuresti at around 5pm and were buzzing with excitement of being reunited with the entire group for the first time since our In Service Training which was held in December. Since our hotel was in the middle of nowhere with no attractions other than a waterpark within walking distance, we needed to create our own entertainment and we sure did.

The conference was fairly interesting and I enjoyed the language and cultural sessions the most. I got to meet some of the new Peace Corps Response Volunteers who are former volunteers (usually served elsewhere) and have come to Romania on a short 6-9 month assignment. One of the PCRVs that I met is a social media guru and I am very excited to utilize his skills set in regards to the Train the Trainers and GLOW/TOBE topics. I’m hoping to be able to plan some regional based workshops with the NGOs and Schools that we worked with during the TTT conference to better their use of social media in expanding their reach and publicity.

One of the fun activities that we randomly planned was a makeup night. The guys were given the task of finding a girl partner whom they were supposed to makeup without any help. My partner was Anthony and he did a bang up job. Some of the guys made the girls look like clowns. We were not allowed to help the guys in any way nor answer any questions. When he started using eye shadow as blush and put powder on me after applying the blush, I was a little worried but in the end it turned out amazingly! We were all so impressed as to how well he did my makeup that we think he might have gone into the wrong profession.

Before

Look at that skill!

DONE!

Me and the artist

Marco and Lindsey

Robert making over Melissa

Grant’s finished masterpiece on Megan

After another excruciatingly long train ride back up north, I am here in Singeorz for the weekend. I have a full load on my plate of stuff to get done before I head out on my next set of adventures which will be going to visit Barbara in Drobeta Turnu Severin, visiting Meg in Odorheiu Secuiesc, hanging out at the sea side with Meg, Megan, and her friend from the states and then ending the summer vacation by supervising a young adult weekend long conference sponsored by PSI Romania in Predeal.

GLOW Camp Version 2.0

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So I just got done with my second GLOW camp of my service and man was it exhausting! This year’s group of girls were great but there were some that just didn’t mesh very well with the GLOW mindset. This year proved to be very challenging and by the end of it, I think we as facilitators did a great job of working with the circumstances and being much more flexible with the participants than we ever planned to be.

The first challenge that we encountered was that one of the girls was sent to GLOW camp as a punishment. Mind you, we designed these camps to be a catalyst for change and non formal education. We base them around learning life skills, and promoting volunteerism so when we heard that she was here on punishment and that her dad filled out the application we were shocked and honestly didn’t know how to react. It was a challenge that we had to face and I am happy to say that by the end of it, the participant got something good out of it like learning to be more patient.

This year’s group of girls were big on going to the local “magazin” (shop) to buy random junk food and snacks. This was also something that we were taken aback by since we provide all the meals at the camp along with various healthy snacks and deserts. We did end up letting them take a trip to the magazin on the way back from the hike where they almost bought out the entire store and came back to camp with stuffed backpacks. We had a few issues when it came to food preferences that at some points drove us and the ever so patient kitchen staff crazy but, we managed to get through that as well.

Finally, the last and probably most important issue we had was a virus. We had a virus go around that affected about 80% of the participants and all of us facilitators that caused us to expel our food from either orifice. The bug lasted about a day for most and then everything was better. We did have to send some girls home that got hit really hard and weren’t getting much better. We still aren’t sure where it came from or if somebody brought it with her. All we know is that it wasn’t from the food or the water because not everyone got sick and we all were eating the same things and drinking out of the same faucets. Due to this, we also used up a lot more toilet paper than we had planned and the 3 bathrooms that were available never sufficed and someone was always left waiting in agony for a stall to open up.

Enough about the bad stuff! The girls were great, honestly. We all had a blast and I wish we would have been able to fit more sessions in but we got the big ones in that we wanted to such as communication, teamwork, sex ed, body image, and project design management. Reading the evaluations that the girls left us, there are a lot of positives and many things that the girls have taken away from this camp so i’d chalk it up as a success.

Currently i’m hanging out an extra night in Agas because my train was running late which would have caused me to miss my connection in Miercurea Ciuc. Even with Miha’s wonderfully drawn bubble letter sign that I used to try to hitchhike in, there weren’t many cars on the road at 8:30 pm headed 60km away to M.Ciuc so I decided to just try again tomorrow. Maybe it’s for the better that I have to stay another night because now I have the opportunity to watch the USA vs SRB waterpolo match (GO SERBIA) and I get to hang out with Miha in peace and quiet for an entire day since I won’t get to see her until next year’s GLOW camp.

Sibiu

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After a year in country I finally got the chance to visit Sibiu. Sibiu is one of the fortified cities within Transylvania that has a huge Saxon influence. After the TTT conference, which was about half an hour outside of the city, our dear friend Miha was nice enough to let us stay at her place for the night before we headed on to GLOW camp. Some of the participants from the conference also decided to stay including the PCMoldova girls. The old citadel part of the city is absolutely amazing and I definitely want to make it back in the near future.

The day after our night of wandering the city and enjoying each other’s company, we decided on a plan on action as to how to get to the GLOW camp. Since Miha and I had to still run some errands in the city and buy a few last minute things for the camp, we stayed back and Ester and Brad headed for camp on the bus. Miha and I joined her parents in the car and it was a very tight 7 hour car ride. We packed the car to the roof of our personal belongings, stuff for camp, things we thought we might need for camp and wanted to bring just to be “on the safe side”, food, and last but not least, some bottles of spring water that we picked up on the way. By the end of the trip one part of my body smelled of pickled cabbage since it defrosted on my leg.

It was a fun ride nonetheless and with great company. Miha is one of the member’s of Scoala Pentru Viata, our GLOW partner NGO and she and her family are amazing people. Since she lives in Germany most of the year and the only contact we have with each other is via email or skype, it was nice to spend some good, quality time together.

SPV/PC GLOW/TOBE Camp TTT Conference

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Just like every organization, we loooove our acronyms. For the past week I have attended the Scoala Pentru Viata and Peace Corps partnership Girls Leading Our World and Teaching Our Boys to Excel Camps Train the Trainers Conference in the sleepy little town of Cisnadioara in Sibiu county. This is it. This is the big project I have been working on for the past 8 months and it is finally over and in my opinion, was a success. We won’t know for sure how successful it was until we see what local projects develop from the facilitators that came but I have a feeling great things are going to happen and we have a great start to creating an extremely sustainable GLOW/TOBE projects.

The first session was from July 19-22 and the group was absolutely fantastic. I made some great connections with NGO members as close to me as Nasaud. I’m hoping that new opportunities do sprout from these meetings and that I can keep on touch with at least the people in my area to see how they are progressing with their GLOW/TOBE ideas. The second session was from July 22-25 and went just as well. It was much easier doing it the second time around because we all, as organizers and facilitators, knew what to expect and could streamline our days and presentations that much more. The second group was also a blast and I have a strong feeling that many projects will come out of this group as well. We also had the privilege of having two PC Moldova volunteers come as participants and not only have I made two new friends in the country next door, they proved to be a great asset and offered a lot of ideas.

Our days were pretty packed and started at 9 am and went until 5:30 with one big break for lunch and then two smaller coffee breaks. At 7 we had dinner and then after 7 was a time to get to know the other volunteers and buy out the entire town of all of it’s beer. (no joke) For the second session we unexpectedly had to move the sleeping arrangements to a different pensiune (bed and breakfast) in town and it definitely worked out for our benefit. This new one was much nicer AND it had a huge pool in the back with a nice garden with hammocks and a trampoline. Needless to say, I think you all know where we spent our free time during the second session. The last night of the conference, after dinner, we hosted a little bonfire where we showed them another experiential learning activity that involved some acting, gender role confusing, togas, and me hissing and cooing at participants. This was followed by a bonfire with s’mores which the Romanians were so ecstatic about after they tried them and it was a great way to spend one last night together and relax.

The next leg of my adventure is to spend two days in Sibiu in Miha’s apartment relaxing with my co-facilitators and preparing for our GLOW camp that is starting on Sunday. After the TTT, I am in the GLOW spirit more than ever and can’t wait to see the new batch of girls that will hopefully one day run this country.

Here are some videos and pictures from both conferences.

 

50 de Ani

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So this past weekend my school celebrated it’s 50th anniversary as a theoretical high school. The school has been around longer than that but never achieved said title until 1962, having it’s first graduating class in 1966. The day started off with a visit to the cemetery and then to the school. Prayers were said and speeches were given by the director, mayor, some inspectors, a woman from the very first graduating class and the first director of the high school. These festivities ended at about 11:30 and the lunch started at 2:30 at one of the local hotels. Most of the attendees at the hotel were former graduates so with the exception of my students that performed at the lunch, I was one of the youngest people in attendance but it still turned out to be fun. The street dance group performed as well as the folklore group and overall it was a very well planned event.

On a different note I have about 12 days left until I am in the United States and cannot wait. I am however very said that I will miss the Senior Banquet but, there is always next year! The next week and a half I will be testing all my students and finalizing their grades for the grade book as well as saying goodbye to my seniors. When I get back, school will still be in session but the seniors will already be gone. They finish June 1st.

Thursday and Friday

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These last two days were dedicated to sports and class outings. I got to watch some pretty awesome handball games (thanks to some awesome students for fully explaining to me all the rules and walking me through the game) and was invited by Mary’s class (9D) to attend a picnic with them on a hill overlooking the town. Scoala altfel has officially come to an end and now we can say “Sup?” to 2 glorious weeks of spring break!

The picnic was great. We went up the hill to one of the student’s cabins and hung out, played games like simon says, mafia, peek-a-who, and I even taught them ultimate frisbee. Unfortunately, my team lost 2-5 but it was great nonetheless. We did have some issues with throwing the frisbee off the side of the hill and it rolling away.

P.S. Thursday, I was forced to sing kareoke…they put on Adele’s “Someone Like You” followed by Queen’s “I want to break free” and then I insisted of doing one on my own which was my go to Chingy’s “Holidae Inn”. Yes, you read correctly. I rapped in front of about 30 students. Don’t worry I used a censored version and told my students that if they could successfully complete a whole american rap by the end of the semester, i’ll give them a 10. I wonder if anyone will take me up on it.

 

On the radar for this weekend is a cabin trip with 10A then heading down south on Monday.