Tell something about you (studies, family, hobbies, dreams, etc.)
JULIAN: I´m Julian Heide, volunteer from Germany. I just finished school in this year and I´ve already early decided to work somewhere in a social project in order to see a bit more of what you see as a tourist in general and of course in order to do something “good” for people. In my leisure time I really like reading, doing sport or travelling anywhere.
OLGA: My name is Olga and I am from Dresden, Germany. I am 19 years old and the youngest of five sisters. Since they all have moved out I love visiting them at their homes in Berlin, Hamburg, London and Paris. But I also like to stay at home, meet friends, watch movies, and cook and bake.
Why did you choose this project ( Why Moldova? Why Casa Providentei?)
JULIAN: Actually Moldova was not my first choice. I wanted to go to Ukraine and work there in an Eastern Ukrainian city but because of the political situation there it was not possible. So I discovered Moldova as the place for my volunteering because here I have the opportunity to practise my Russian and because of the really interesting and diverse project I could work in. So the Casa Providentei gives us space to work with elderly people and with children.
OLGA: Since I first listened to a Gypsy-Band I wanted to get to know the countries where this music originates from. This is how I became interested in Romania – and after that in Moldova. Besides, I have been to France for a scholar exchange, to Great Britain for holidays, but never to a country more eastern than Hungary. Eastern Europe was a big mystery for me, which I wanted to discover when finished with school. About Casa Providentei I liked the idea that there is not only one group of people to work with but elderlies and children. On top of that I was really interested in getting to know the routine of a social cantina.
Did you have cultural shock?
JULIAN: Not at all. The people working in Casa Providentei make me feel comfortable since the first day of my stay.
OLGA: No, I didn’t have one. I think the differences of the German and the Moldovan culture are rather subliminal and I will discover them with time. Maybe I’ll have a shock in the end of the year!
Do you like your project? And what motivates you to come every day at work?
JULIAN: I really like the project and my work. In general there are three things motivating me every day to go to work: First the really nice and jovial work with the staff, the little jokes and the daily conversations. Second the real grateful atmosphere feeling in the social canteen. And third a lot of story and narrations you are confronted with in our daily center for alderly. They could be interesting or oppressive, funny or really terrible.
OLGA: I am really happy that I am working at Casa Providentei. This is especially because of the team, that is so open-minded, friendly and always up for a joke. Already after one month I feel fully integrated in the team because I have my daily tasks that everybody knows about like laying the tables in the social cantina. Meeting any colleague on the floor one greets each other, having lunch together one shares his opinion about the food – it is a very familiar atmosphere. On top of that there are the elderly people who are coming for lunch every day. There has hardly been a day that I didn’t have a big smile on my face while serving the food – because the elderlies don’t skimp on compliments and they are happy about every little conversation we have – I am too.
What plans do you have after (EVS) volunteer work?
JULIAN: After my volunteering I want to start studying at a German university, probably social sciences.
OLGA: After my year in Moldova I want to go to university in a nice German city. I would like to improve the conditions of workers in the textile-branch in countries like Bangladesh. But I don’t know yet what is best to study for that. I also love writing and would love to become a journalist.
How would you characterize Moldova in 3 words ? And why?
JULIAN: Surprising – As a Western European you don´t expect what you are supposed to see in Moldova. Everybody is only think of horrible poverty.
Diverse – In Chisinau you can meet really exciting and interesting people having different attitudes towards politics, life, society, from ecology activits up to decendents of German immigrants.
Wine – Wine and grapes are not only visible everywhere on markets but also passengers flying with Air Moldova can try wine. And it´s really good.
OLGA: I cannot characterize Moldova yet but I can name some differences from Germany that I really appreciate. First of all: the Moldovan bus drivers are so much nicer than the German ones! When I am running for a bus in Germany whose doors are still open, it can easily happen that the bus takes off without me. But in Moldova even moving busses stop for someone who is coming late.
Secondly: The mix of Russian and Romanian. If you meet a new group of people you never know in which language they prefer to talk.
Before I came to Moldova I thought that only old people are talking Russian here but now I learnt that there are also people younger than me who consider Russian as their mothertongue. This mix is not only a symbol of Moldova but also a challenge for me. Sometimes I can’t even differentiate in which language people are talking.
Thirdly: The Markets make Moldova look different than Germany. I love how vegetables and fruits are sold on the sidewalk and to roam around in the market halls where you can find second-hand-clothes as well as beauty products and tasty food.