Tag Archives: Champa Jarmul

Costume Coverage

The recent visit of the U.S. ambassador and Peace Corps guests to see the beautiful new costumes at Champa’s school was featured in a national television story, on a local news site and in the latest issue of Ialoveni’s monthly newspaper. (A translation of the newspaper article follows below; my previous post features a video about the event.)

TVR Molodova covered the costume event with this story (also available on YouTube):

The news site Ialoveni Online covered the events with the story excerpted below (in Romanian). You can use Google Translate to translate it online, if needed.

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The city’s monthly newspaper published two articles, both shown here. The first is about the ambassador’s discussions at the primăria, or city hall, which followed the costume event. The second, which I’ve translated below, is about the costume celebration and earlier library visit by Peace Corps guests, and about the work the two of us have been doing in Ialoveni.

Thank you again — vă mulțumim frumos! — to our extraordinary partners at the school and the library who made all of this possible and were so welcoming to their American guests.



Translation of second article:

Interesting Achievements of Peace Corps Volunteers in Ialoveni

Theoretical High School Andrei Vartic in Ialoveni had a gala festival to launch a volunteer project by its students, parents and teachers with support from the U.S. Peace Corps and volunteer Champa Jarmul.

Attending the event was his Excellency James D. Pettit, the U.S. ambassador to Moldova. The project produced 43 costumes that can be used by actors in dramatic presentations. The event featured a series of short scenes in which student actors presented heroes from the works of Shaespeare, V. Alecsandri and I. Creangă.

The celebration honored the volunteers. Thanks were expressed by school director Valentina Sacara and project coordinator Ana Doschinescu to all those who contributed to making this dream a reality.

A delegation from Peace Corps Moldova led by director Tracey Hébert-Seck visited Ialoveni’s Petre Ștefănucă public library. Peace Corps Volunteer David Jarmul presented some of the library’s activities, such as its robotics club, “Bebeteca” children’s room and infographics. The guests were impressed by the many activities carried out in collaboration with the volunteers.

Library director Valentina Plamadeala thanked David and Champa Jarmul for their diverse cultural activities at the library and in the community, for the beautiful projects they brought to Ialoveni and for their hours of English language training at the library.


Costume Party (Video)

On Friday, the U.S. ambassador and other guests celebrated the new costumes Champa and her Ialoveni school partners created over the past several months — a colorful and emotional day we will never forget. This video is also on YouTube.


Getting Into Costume


Cowboys, Indians, pirates and other characters have begun arriving at Champa’s school. Her grant project to create a costume and prop wardrobe for its drama program is progressing nicely, with many of the costumes now completed.



The school, LT “Andrei Vartic” in Ialoveni, Moldova, recently received its first batch of stage props, including some great hats. As you can see in these photos, Champa and I had fun trying them on with her project partner Ana Doschinescu, in the white and blue dress, and another teacher, Tamara Vîrlan.

Ana, Tamara and Champa can’t wait until the project is completed and students start using the props and costumes on stage. We’ll keep you posted.

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Story Time at the Library

Readers, I seek your assistance — the first and only time Champa or I will make such a request while we are serving in Moldova as Peace Corps Volunteers.


The library where I work in Ialoveni has launched a project to create a “Story Time at the Library” program for toddlers along with educational programs for adults. They’ve already raised nearly $1,000 locally — a lot of money here — but need $2,303.94 more to create a kid-friendly room with small chairs, educational toys, art materials and the like.

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I’ve worked with the library and Peace Corps to launch a fundraiser through the Let Girls Learn program championed by Michelle Obama.

As you can see in the infographic, the librarians did a survey showing overwhelming community support for the idea, which is similar to the story times held at many public libraries in the States. Their target audience is kids a bit younger than those you see in the photo above of a school group recently visiting the library.

The project is just the latest example of how Ialoveni’s library is trying to redefine itself for the modern world and become a vital community resource. During the past year alone it has expanded beyond books to create programs for video animation, advocacy, computer coding and robotics, together with new services for special-needs users.

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You can learn more about the project and donate here. Your contribution is tax-deductible in the United States. You can donate in honor or memory of someone and, if you choose, share your contact information with me. You can also send words of encouragement to the project team. I will be administering the funds.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, support what the Peace Corps is doing or just want to support a great cause for the holidays, I hope you will make a donation. On behalf of the mothers, children, families and librarians of Ialoveni: Mulțumesc (Thank you)!



Champa’s Projects

Composting. Arts and crafts. Helping kids with special needs.

These are just some of the things Champa has been doing here when she isn’t teaching English at her school. Recently Peace Corps Moldova asked her and several other eduction volunteers to highlight their out-of-class activities for a conference. Her presentation reminded me of how busy she’s been. These photos tell the story:


Champa hosts a weekly English conversation class at our local library.


She participates sometimes in a weekly club at the library where local women create hats and other objects from recycled materials.


She’s helping a local NGO compost its food scraps and start a vegetable garden and has also started a compost pile with our host family, shown above.


For International Children’s Day, Champa organized a project in which local residents described in a few words what the day meant to them. (That’s our city’s mayor in the blue shirt and tie, helping her.)


She is managing a Peace Corps small grants project at her school to create a costume and prop wardrobe for its drama program. She’s posing above with her school partner Ana and in the bottom photo with Ana and Ina, the project’s designer.

Champa also volunteers weekly at a local center for special-needs kids and, of course, does all of her regular work at the school, as well as participating in community cultural events, hanging out with our host family and sharing all of the shopping and cooking with me. She doesn’t like calling attention to herself but today I’m making an exception.


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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