Day 18

Tuesday

Today had a slightly different start to our planned activity. I arrived and was asked to run a Latin dance exercise group. Fine. I had music and willing participants, but unfortunately no change of clothes for myself for afterwards – 45 minutes dancing in 28+ degree heat is hot work! Oh well. I then learned the reason for the change of plan. The centre was being inspected by the Directorate of Children’s Services (again, an indication of attitudes to learning disabilities in Moldova: our youngest client is 17, oldest 45 an most in their twenties…) and our planned activity of cooking is not permitted by said directorate. I had to hide my *jaw drop* reaction and find out why, given that a principle aim of the centre is to promote independent living skills, an aim which is supported by the aforementioned Directorate. Apparently it’s due to risk. It’s funny, I’d wrongly assumed that things in Moldova would be a bit more relaxed regarding Health and Safety. The centre’s staff have food hygiene training and the oven is located in an area off limits to the young adults. The latter fact originally frustrate me as I wondered how cooking skills would be worked on, now I realise that a cooking group would only involve the preparation of the food but not the cooking. And even that is prohibited.

The inspector left and we continued with a day full of planned activities. As to what they entailed, I couldn’t possibly comment…

I left slightly early to complete another Romanian language lesson. I’m making progress, albeit slowly. I keep going to shops and restaurants to test out my skills, often the staff members speak to me in English before I’ve even spoken (no, I am not wearing clothes with a Union Jack on them). Other times I start conversation in Romanian and they respond in English! I think it’s just the culture here to be incredibly helpful and welcoming to foreigners (despite tourist being pretty rare here) and it is a requirement that people here learn a language (often English) all through their schooling. It’s lovely, but not helping me learn! Ironically, the only person who conversed with me in Romanian today was a man selling postcards in the tourist souvenir market.

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