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Elena, tell us something about you and your activities!
My name is Elena Mühlichen and I am 19 years old. After I finished high school in Germany, I decided to do something completely new – to leave my home country and to do a voluntary service in Moldova. Apart from helping people, I like very much to play music, to travel and to learn languages.

Have you volunteered before?
Before I started my one-year voluntary service, I didn’t have so much experience in volunteering. But facing the „wave” of migrants arriving in Germany in the last time, I helped out in a little center for refugees for some weeks . I played with the people, talked with them, participated at various activities or helped with translations.

Why Moldova?
In the beginning, I just knew that I want to do a „gap year” after school abroad and it didn’t matter where. At an seminar for orientation, I heard about Moldova and Casa Providentei and I realized that I don’t know anything about this little country – and I decided to change that.

What was your first impression about Moldova?
When I came here, I was very excited about everything. Many things were different from Germany and the Western European countries I’ve had already visited. I really liked to discover the new culture… delicious food, trolleybuses, new languages, friendly people that were all quite surprised that somebody comes from high-developed Germany to live in their poor country. But I actually appreciate a lot the simplicity of life here.

Which things have you learnt here?
Now, about five months after my arrival in Moldova, I can say I also had to face some more difficult moments. For example, I had almost no experience with the work with children, so I had to learn a lot about how to interact correctly with them. I also gained skills in teaching, explaining, talking in front of people, being creative… Furthermore I learnt that communcation is a very important thing and that it is not limited to words.

What is your opinion about Casa Providentei?
When I came to Casa Providentei, I was soon surprised how well organised my working place is. One can feel, that behind the daily routine is knowledge and experience of many, many years, which I appreciate a lot. As well I love the very warm and kind atmosphere between the staff members. I think Casa Providentei does something very important for the poor in Moldova.

What are your expectations for the second half?
I hope that at the end of my Moldovan year, I will be able to hold twenty children quiet at a time, to speak Romanian (and maybe also Russian) fluently, to know myself better and to know what I want to do with my life. I came to Casa Providentei as a teenager, but I will probably leave it as an adult.

Thank you!