Second Weekend in Chișinău

It’s funny, when on placement in the UK I don’t tend to do much at the weekend as I’m quite tired, but here it seems such a waste to not explore the area. Fortunately I have a shorter working day than at home so I have a bit more energy.

Yesterday I me up with the other three volunteers that are in the area at the moment. We went to the state art gallery, which I’d a to my list of definite ‘Chișinăuen’ experiences… The gallery consisted of several rooms of differing themes. The first contained religious paintings, many with the structure of the church it was taken from still partly attached. The second more traditional Moldovan secular artwork. The third room involved walking to another street, where the exhibition continued with more contemporary pieces . Finally, a very grand room upstairs contained traditional art, and a significant slope to the floor. Throughout our visit the galley staff would scurry ahead of us to turn on each room’s slightly wonky fluorescent strip lights, no doubt turning them off as we left to ensure economical electricity consumption.

We then travelled by trolleybus to another part of the city. At the weekend the locals hold the equivalent of a car boot sale, in an open air market stylee sale of all their unwanted possessions. The market was vast and I could only admire the dedication of the sellers who would be spending a long day in the hot sun, quietly competing to sell their clothes over their neighbour’s and hoping to earn a few Lei.

I had an interesting conversation with my host regarding the healthcare system here. The most interesting message from it is that it has become custom to doctors to receive a financial bonus, from the patient, once they are well as it had previously been most lucrative for doctors to keep the patients engaged in expensive treatments. I also gained a potential answer to why the young people at my placement are so quiet and well behaved. My host proposes that because they are totally ignored within society they either are so grateful for the Centre that they engage well, or are just ‘trained’ to be compliant and restrained by their society’s attitude.

Today has been quieter, some exploring of the centre of town to get materials for a craft activity I am planning and I also joined a local gym. I was physiologically and psychologically missing my exercise and outdoor exercise is nearly impossible here, due to the heat. So, I look forward to experiencing Moldovan step and zumba classes!

Off to placement in the morning. I’m ready for the UK themed week, as well as trips for the group to a monastery and the National Museum.

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