Tag Archives: Champa Jarmul

Sharing Our Story

Earlier this year, Champa’s school received a wonderful gift of English-language books from Darien Book Aid, a nonprofit organization in Connecticut that sends free books to organizations in the United States and abroad. img_1420Champa requested the books, which ranged from easy readers to story anthologies. They’ve found a happy audience at her school ever since then.

More recently, the organization contacted us to ask whether they might profile us for a story in their newsletter about older Peace Corps Volunteers. Especially since they’d been so generous, we agreed. The article was just published.

Please consider donating to Darien Book Aid! Their latest newsletter is here, including the article about us, which follows below.

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Two Talks in Durham

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Champa and I are coming home for a short vacation with our family. While we’re in Durham, we will be giving two presentations about our Peace Corps experience:

  • A private talk for Duke University friends at 4 p.m., July 10, Office of News and Communications. RSVP (required) to Sakiya Lockett.
  • A public talk  at 4 p.m. July 11 at the East Durham Regional Library, together with Chris Cardona, a returned volunteer (China) who is the local Peace Corps recruiter. See the poster below for details.

Earlier during our visit we will be joining returned volunteers from the Philadelphia area in marching in that city’s Fourth of July parade. If you’re watching in front of Independence Hall, check out who’s carrying the flags for Moldova and Nepal.

Please come join us if you are in the area!

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Children’s Day

Love. Happiness. Fun. Health.

Those are some of the things people wrote on Thursday when Champa asked them to describe in one word the meaning of International Children’s Day, which people celebrated in Ialoveni and across Moldova. The mayor, Sergiu Armașu, in the shirt and tie, helped her gather responses in front of the Casa de Cultură.

Click on the photo of the chart to see all of the responses. American readers may especially enjoy two in the top-right of the photo: “Best Friend Forever” and “iPhone 7.”

Painting Eggs

Are you getting ready to paint Easter eggs?

If you need some inspiration, the most beautiful Easter eggs in the world are surely here in Moldova and its neighboring countries. See for yourself in this photo I snapped last weekend at the travel fair in Chișinău.

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Viorica Flocea painted these eggs. That’s her with Champa and our friend Denise. You can watch her technique in the video below.

Painting eggs for Easter is a centuries-old tradition in this part of the world. The practice nearly disappeared in Moldova during the decades of Soviet rule when religion was suppressed. Now it has been revived and many Moldovan families paint eggs with their children during the Easter season.

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You begin by draining the egg’s contents through a small hole. Then you mark the egg with hot wax lines to form ornamental areas. After the wax turns cold, you place the egg in colored water and then dry it. Next comes the fun part,: painting the egg with different colors, progressing from lighter to darker colors. Finally you dry the egg and strip off the wax lines.
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Traditional designs may symbolize the sun, a leaf, wheat or the cross. Certain lines represent life or death, while others portray water or purification. Several websites like this one have more information.
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People here traditionally paint Easter eggs on the Thursday and Saturday before the holiday. However, artists such as Viorica paint eggs throughout the year and at exhibitions like the one we attended.

After we bought several of her eggs to bring home as gifts, she encouraged Champa and Denise to give it a try by each drawing their name and the date on an egg.

You can learn from Viorica, too, at her family’s lodge in Fundu Moldovei, Romania. If you’re here in Moldova, the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History organizes several exhibitions and workshops each year where craftswomen demonstrate the craft.

You also can learn egg painting at the Orhei Vechi archeological complex or Lalova village in Rezina district. Tatrabis offers an all-day excursion in Moldova that combines a class on egg painting with homemade wine tastings where you can wash away your disappointment at not being as skilled as Viorica.

Perhaps I should say you’re not as skilled yet. You still have some time before Sunday to become a master egg artisan yourself.

Video: First Bell Ceremony

Every school in the Republic of Moldova celebrates its opening on September 1 with a colorful ceremony called Primal Sunet De Clopoțel, or First Bell. Local leaders and school officials give speeches of encouragement, students perform songs and dances and, finally, bells are rung as everyone cheers. This brief video shows highlights from the school in Ialoveni where Champa has begun teaching.