Archives for the month of: May, 2011

On May 20th our school had a carnival for the students to use all the the tickets they had accumulated throughout the six week anti-smoking campaign, “Learning Together Why We Say No to Smoking”. Four awesome PC health volunteers came out to help by making balloons, taking pictures, and painting faces. The carnival started at 5 and lasted until about 7:30. We were able to offer several booths with different games, most of which the students and teachers had never before seen or played.

Mîinile Dibace = Sensitive Hands (So original, huh?) We put 30 safety pins in a bowl of rice and blind-folded a student who had 15 seconds to find 3 safety pins. It is harder than you think as only about 5 students succeeded the whole night. That didn’t stop the students from trying though, especially for the price of just one ticket. They absolutely loved this booth.

Decorează-ți Fața = Face Painting. For two tickets the students were able to get their face painted, or for 1 tickets they could buy three stickers. Some of the older students, our school secretary, and Cristy (a PCV) were our expert face painters, and they did great! Some of the designs were so creative, and there wasn’t even one student disappointed with the result.

Dulciuri = Sweets. For just one ticket a student received a little bag to fill up with a combination of cookies and candies. All the candy was purchased from the city, so the students were especially excited to try out some sweets that can’t be purchased in the village. This station was busy for the whole two and a half hours! (By the way, Ukranian candy is fabulous, especially the Roshen brand.)

Reîncarcați = Recharge. For those students who were a little slow-going in the way of participation during lessons and competitions, we had a booth where they could answer questions about smoking. Our physics teacher worked the booth the whole time, and she asked some pretty tough questions. I think the kids definitely learned a little more about the dangers of smoking after visiting her booth!

Baloane = Balloons. A VERY popular booth was worked by a few teachers, Curt, Zach, and Matt (PCVs). They learned ahead of time how to make dogs, swans, swords, hearts, giraffes, and hats. The students paid 2 tickets for one of their expert creations and absolutely loved them (the balloons and the volunteers)!

Bowling = Bowling. Just like in the states except a plastic ball for the bowling ball and metal bottles for the pins!

Aruncați și Cîștigați = Throw and Win. There were 3 different games for the students to play at this booth. The first and hardest was to throw coins in the paper towel rolls (decorated with the help of a peace corps magazine). The second game was to throw a ball in a canister, and the third was to throw a frisbee through a slot. There were not a lot of winners at this booth… so I guess that made it a real carnival!

Plimbare Gustoasă = Cake Walk. The teachers participated so much throughout the campaign, so we decided to have a booth especially for them. We had two different cake walks where the teachers not working the booths could come try to win a cake. Our two winners were the French teacher and the Math teacher. Congratulations!

Încearcă Norocul = Try Your Luck. At this booth, students could pay a ticket to possibly earn 5 tickets. 6 envelopes were set on the table, all with different messages written on them like, “Open Me!” and “I’m the lucky one!” and “If you’re smart, don’t open me!”. The students tried their luck by choosing an envelope to see if it had the extra 5 lucky tickets or nothing at all.

Decorează Biscuiți = Cooking Decorating. The younger kids were mainly interested in this booth. For two tickets they received a cookie that they could decorate any way the desired. We had all sorts of frostings, sprinkles, and other cookie decorations. Some of the students decorated the cookies for themselves, but most gave them away to teachers and friends. Some of the students were definitely of the mindset of quantity, not quality, making it more like we were eating cookies to go along with the frosting and sprinkles.

Faceți Poze = Strike a Pose. Moldovans love getting their picture taken, so Lindsay (another PCV) was busy the entire time. The students paid 2 tickets to be photographed alone or with their friends, teachers, and siblings, and then received the picture the following week.

Another booth not photographed was Chieța Norocoasă = Lucky Key. The students had to choose between 9 keys to open a lock. The finder of the lucky key won a phone card! For some reason all the phone cards were won within 10 minutes, so I’m thinking the teacher running the booth didn’t quite know what was going on.

At 7:30 the puppet theater club performed their anti-smoking skit (the same one they performed at the parents’ meeting). The younger kids loved it!

My partner and I worked all school year creating and organizing this project, and while I really enjoyed its implementation, it feels SO good to be finished. I personally learned a lot about myself, discovering strengths and weaknesses, as I evaluated the project from start to finish. Several teachers and A LOT of students are excited for next year’s carnival (apparently it’s already decided), and they all suggest the theme be alcohol awareness! Wish us luck on that one… I have a feeling we’ll need it.


The sixth week anti-smoking competition was for each grade to create and perform a skit about the dangers of smoking. The elementary kids performed their skits separately as they get out of school earlier. All four grades did an excellent job. The skits were about 5-7 minutes, and of course, all the students had their lines memorized.

The first graders performed a skit where the three children (on the left) were trying to get their dad (on the far right) to stop smoking. In the end he decided that the kids and his wife were right, that he should make the healthy choice to stop smoking.

The second graders performed a skit about how to decide if smoking is a good idea. The main character (the girl on the right) found a snake on the ground, and when she picked it up, the devil appeared. The devil told her all the things that are good for her, including smoking. He then offered her cigarettes. Just before putting the cigarette in her mouth, an angel appeared and convinced her that smoking is actually not good for her. In the end she decideed to listen to the angel.

This was my favorite skit. The third graders performed a skit as older Moldovan women at a funeral. They all stood in a circle gossiping about how the man died, and all about how terrible cigarettes are for people. It was my favorite because their speech, clothing, and gestures were so characteristic of something you would actually see from Moldovan women.

The fourth graders performed a skit where the main character was a pig.

He wanted to find a delicious and sweet plant to eat, so he tried to eat all the flowers (played by the girls), but they wouldn’t let him. He decided to smoke tobacco because he was hungry and thought this plant would fill him up.

After smoking too many cigarettes he passed out, and his owner called the doctor.

The doctors came and fixed him all up and educated him on all the plants we could eat instead of eating the tobacco plant.

The rest of the school performed their skits an hour later.

The fifth graders performed a skit as a game show, answering questions about smoking.

The sixth graders’ skit started with a couple of boys trying to get other boys to start smoking. They all decided they would smoke together.

Then a group of girls came along and convinced them all one by one to not smoke.

The skit ended with a song and dance.

The seventh graders came up with a skit of a family trying to convince the dad to stop smoking.

This was one of the eighth grade skits, but I have no idea what it was about.

This was another eighth grade skit where a group of girls tried to convince a group of boys to stop smoking.

And yet another eighth grade skit where three bigger kids came up to a younger boy, stole his ball and said they wouldn’t give it back to him until he smoked. The boy had no other choice, and after smoking and getting sick, the older kids ran away with his ball. The skit ended with one of the students warning the audience of these kinds of situations because they are real and happen often in Moldova.

Up next… the carnival!

The fifth week anti-smoking competition was to write an essay answering the question, “How would life be without cigarettes?”. The Romanian teachers judged the entries after school and awarded the winners their tickets the following week. We received slightly over 50 entries.

I must say, after reading some of the entries I do not feel so badly for making grammatical errors while speaking Romanian. The Romanian language has A LOT of grammar rules, and often native speakers don’t even follow these rules. Reading the entries reminded me of how poorly I sometimes speak in English.

The fourth week anti-smoking competition was a poster competition for the parents to judge during the parents’ meeting on the Friday of that week. During the meeting several students presented about the current smoking rates in Moldova, the consequences of these rates, and what it means for our village. Other students recited poetry in Romanian, English, French, and Russian. The puppet theater performed a skit, and then a 5th grader sang a song she had made up for one of my homework assignments. Over a 100 parents showed up (We have about 250 families with students at the school.). After the meeting, the parents were asked to judge the posters hanging up around the room.

This puppet theater skit was quite an improvement from the first one. This one was longer, with more characters, and props! The storyline:

Alina is learning about smoking in class when the bell rings. The teacher asks them to come to school the next day with some new information about the effects of smoking.

Alina goes to the library with some of her friends and reads all sorts of information about the effects of smoking, and then goes home.

At home she tells her mom what she learned about that day, and her younger brother brags that he learned something at school too; he learned how to multiply. They are ready to eat when their dad comes home from the store. The boy asks what the dad bought, and the dad says he bought cigarettes. The boy and Alina are sad he didn’t buy anything for them. Mom, Alina, and the boy are all trying to persuade the dad to quit smoking. Later the boy and the dad are watching tv when the little boy calculates the amount of money the dad could save by not smoking (much less here than in the states. A pack of cigarettes here is about 50 cents.).

Alina goes to bed and has a dream where a cigarette, dirty lungs, and a rapidly beating heart are trying to get the clean lungs to hang out with them. The clean lungs decides in the end that she doesn’t want to be covered in tar, so she refuses their company. The next day Alina goes to school and her friends offer her a cigarette. She refuses by using some of the skills she learned in her dream. She asked questions, then identified the consequences, then suggested another activity. The end!

My wonderful nurse partner, A.

The third week anti-smoking competition dealt with physical fitness and the effects of smoking on athletic performance. Students from each class divided up into teams to play basketball, volleyball, and relay races. They younger students and any other students not apart of a team were able to participate in a physical fitness contest that included hoola hooping, jump roping, pull-ups, crunches, soccer, and a few other activities.

The second week anti-smoking competition was to write a poem or a short story in a foreign language. The foreign languages taught in the school are Russian, French, and English. The foreign language teachers and I judged the entries on Friday and awarded the winners the following Monday with tickets for the carnival. There were only about 50 entries, but that’s ok. We wanted to make the competitions diverse to make sure we would capture a larger number of participants overall.

I am including a few examples of some of the entries in English. I think the kids did such a great job. Even though I didn’t understand half of the entries, the students still participated and earned their tickets.

you know?

One thousan 5 hundred mens,
Are died every year,
Because they smoke and didn’t know
The harm of cigarette, you know?

To smoke a cigarette it’s bad.
Don’t do what also do your dad.
Because, it’s true, they didn’t know
The harm of cigarette, you know?

But suddenly he get in sick
His lungs don’t work mo more.
Because it’s true, they didn’t know
The harm of cigarette, you know?

And even now, when he remember
That cigaretts are something bad
He speak to us “Don’t ever do that”.
Because he almost die.

– Madălina, 5th grade.


I am Dan. Today I am tell you my story. I was 17 years, learn in hight school. The first time I like smoke a tigarette. Aleague first noticed by the desk, and asked: You smoke? Yew yellowed teeth, smelling of smoke at tigarett. Stop plaing with me and do not eat fruit and the worst is that the cough becoming worse. By my heart condition worsed. By large departed from the hospital. I have never smoked. And when someone gives me at cogarete I say: NO thanks!

– Grigoraș, 5th grade.

Smoching died you!!!

A one time ago live two brothers, they not love smoking but know thei were twing. It’ is name Victor and Alex. Victor has gone abroad and Alex stayed her to have a famyly. Victor did not have family and he stey there yars. When Victor came home he was very old, and Alex have younger before his brother gone abroand. Victor asked him:

– Alex you want a cigarette? Alex ore very amazed.

– No thank you. I dont smoke. I can lose my family for an oane cigarette.

Victor said:

– It is very nice and wonderful to smooke I finld, I am a very strong men.

– Well, I don’t smoking, promt.

Victor not quit smoking. Over 20 years. Victor died because smoking and Alex said:

– Gee without smoking you are died.

Alex live up to deep old age.

– Marinela, 3rd grade.


Do not smoke any cigarette
Is that they harm everyone.
Says every living thing:
No smoking, no smoking!

Even a cockroach say
Is not happy.
Says every living thing
No smoking, no smoking!

– Criscenția, 4th grade.

The Realy story

One day, Andy came home from school, he saw how few of his colleagues in his class had a pack of cigarettes. Andy curious approached them and ask them:

-What you want?

– No, do not think you want to look smoke!

– Yes! We only try, you want it to try?

– Why not? I never tried!

– I hope do be somehting nice. Yeah, my dad smokes, smokes when he says he relaxes, interfering whith one of his colleagues argue.

Students walking in a hidden place, how many have smoked a cigarette and went home each…

Andy finished his evening after lessons, he sat at the computer. Casually join a site unknown. Website wrote: “Smoking kills” and “Smoke a cigarette you minimize life by seven minutes”

Realize what he had done, he read all the info on that site. Therefore he went to bed, fast asleep and being tired. He began to dream…

“Is it that Andy became a smoker. This single-day he remembered that half of his body is never had, was burned like a cigarette.”

From this nightmare, Andy found himself and began to scream. His mother heard quickly went to his room and asked what happened. Boy when his mother told him the whole story. Appease him and his mother went to the doctor the next day. Fortunately that cigarette not affected him. From then on Andy when he saw smoke, the frightened and always comes with hundreds of arguments for the people who smoke.

Reaching the man, he organized several projects about the damage smoking has becme a reliabletutor thousands of smokers.

– Anastasia, 6th grader.


There was a man wealthy. He smoke. One day he was stuck illnese grave. Women came to see wealthy, but he is deceased. Men in it country bought cigaretts. They examine cigaretts see why kills wealthy. They saw cigarett burn lungs. They au fugit de (ran from) cigaretts information că (because) the smoking kills.

-Macrina, 3rd grade.

Smoking is a substantial health risk in Moldova with approximately 80% of males having a history of smoking. The rate for females is much lower, around 8%, but on the rise nonetheless. With these statistics in mind my nurse partner, A, and I worked all year on developing an anti-smoking campaign for the 405 students at our school. We won a grant to fund some of our initiatives for the 6-week project (Thank you, America!) starting on April 4 and ending on May 20. We developed a project with the goal of providing correct information to all the students about the risks associated with smoking.

A big part of our project was motivating our students to want to learn about this topic, so we used a reward system. Students were awarded tickets for participation in lessons and competitions to use at the carnival at the end of the six weeks. Students received lessons from their teachers, who associated the harms of smoking with their respective subject. Examples: Chemistry teacher talks about the chemical components in cigarettes. Foreign Language teachers teach anti-tobacco phrases and expressions. Music teachers create a song along with students about the risks of smoking. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a weekly school-wide or class-wide competition. The first week was a door decorating contest. This was a new concept for them, but each of the doors was creative, informative, and very well done.

Classes I-A and I-B

Class II-A (Whoever smokes is my brother! Ha, ha, ha.) Class II-B

Classes III-A and III-B

Classes IV-A and IV-B

Class V-A

Class V-B

Class VI-A

Class VI-B

Class VII-A

Class VII-B

Class VIII-A

Class VIII-B

Class IX-A

Class IX-B

Class X

Class XI

Class XII (The smoke that turns your life to ashes)

8 days after Easter Moldovans celebrate Memorial Easter, which is a combination of Easter and Memorial Day in the states. This is a day when just about every grave in Moldova is covered with gifts and surrounded with loving family members gathering to honor their loved ones. Both of L’s parents are deceased and E’s father is deceased, so I went to the neighboring village’s cemetery with E while Curt went to the cemetery here in Bălăurești with L. After discussing each of our experiences we realized that the customs preformed on this day must depend on the village because they differed quite a bit.

In Zberoaia (Z-bear-why-uh) after first visiting L’s father’s grave, we took a cozonac (Easter bread), and a glass of wine with a candle in it to a big table right next to the church. Then L and L’s sister-in-law M decorated their father’s grave with pomene (religious gifts). As soon as the church bells started to ring, the priest made his way through the entire cemetery, not skipping even one grave as he blessed the graves, gifts, and people by sprinkling holy water with the top of a broom. After almost an hour the priest finished and made his way to the long table of bread, wine, and candles. There he chanted names of the deceased in the village as recorded in little books of family history stored at the church. After that ceremony, M took the wine and poured a little in the form of a cross on all four sides of the grave, leaving just enough for each family member to have a sip. And of course it wouldn’t really be a holiday if there wasn’t a a masă (Conveniently most graves have a table right next to them for this very reason.). The day ends with family members giving gifts in honor of their loved ones who have passed on. (I am now the owner of a red faux Gucci T-shirt… so Moldovan.)

This was a solemn day for many Moldovans filled with tears and heartache. On several occasions I witnessed people approaching the graves of their loved ones with hurt and despair on their faces. But it was also a very happy day as people gathered as family and friends, some of which are only seen once a year, on this day. On this day I was reminded of two people I loved so very dearly, and I would have loved to be honoring them alongside their graves.

While L and E’s guests were here from Romania we went to the the forest to grill some meat and spend some time outdoors. We also introduced them all to s’mores, which were a big hit.

Spring is full of baby animals… and they are so cute. I would take one of each if I could, but after an hour or so I wouldn’t know what to do with them, so it’s probably better to not have any.

Iezi = Kids (Baby Goat)

Pui = Chicks

Vițel = Calf

Miel = Lamb

Bărboși = Baby Geese