Guest post by Keith Johnson, a Peace Corps volunteer who is working with our Community Center “VIS” in Băcioi.
My name is Keith Johnson, I am twenty-three years old, originally from Wisconsin, and I just started volunteering with the Community Center “VIS” in Băcioi, Moldova. You may be wondering, “How does a 23-year-old Wisconsinite find himself in Bacioi?”
Well, the college from which I graduated, the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, included a significant focus on ethics and corporate social responsibility, and the idea stuck with me. Before I graduated with a finance degree, I began looking for a job with an international-humanitarian organization. Low and behold, I discover the Peace Corps, an organization promoting world peace and friendship, and I began the lengthy application process, which took about a year from when I submitted my application to when I left for Moldova . In the meantime, an ethanol plant hired me to help write a grant and work with their environmental and safety managers. About five weeks before departure, I was elated to find out the Peace Corps invited me to work as a Community and Organizational Development (COD) volunteer in Moldova!
After arriving in Moldova in early June, I moved to Vasieni, a village of about 4,000 people, with fourteen other COD volunteers to begin the two-month Pre-Service Training (PST). The primary focus of PST is language training, in my case Romanian, and technical training, which explores methods of achieving COD’s main goal of increasing organizational and individual capacity.
Meanwhile, after applying to work with a Peace Corps volunteer in March, Liliana Celcinschi, director of “VIS,” found out in early June that I would be coming to Băcioi in August to begin my two-year service with her organization and the community. During this time, I will be living with an incredibly nice and hospitable host family of a mother, father, and three children. Together, the wonderful staff of VIS and I will try to develop stronger relationships with the community, founded on trust and honesty. This will allow our center to have a more significant role in developing our community, which will include organizing artistic and sporting activities for youth and teenagers, as well as working with their families. Also, I am excited to teach the children English!
Currently, we are planning projects that target pervasive problems in our community. However, these plans are still in their infancy and we will elaborate more on them later as they come into fruition!