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.