“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
― C. JoyBell C.
Yesterday was the Green Vision forum organized by my colleagues and friends in Balti. It was an exhausting success. We had approximately 200 registered participants who attended, as well as walk-ins. I spoke three languages throughout the day. My role as a floater was to engage people on the floor who seemed displaced, bored, or otherwise alone. This gave me an opportunity to meet several new faces and interact with those I wouldn’t normally speak to, and I connected with some important people unintentionally.
As volunteers, we had to arrive at the restaurant where the event was being held, VisPas, by 8 AM. Because of this, I was up by 5:45 AM to shower and prepare. I got to the bus station to meet the rest of the Riscani group by 6:55 AM. We arrived in Balti around 7:50 AM. Several volunteers asked me why we had to be there so early. I explained, after being debriefed by Bartosz, that we had to prepare badges and other things beforehand, since people would start showing up by 9 AM. And he was right.
Nina and Lucia, my project manager and assistant for English Education, respectively, from Peace Corps, both attended the event. They stayed for only about an hour, but they were impressed from what I could tell. We took several photos together, and I introduced them to Sandru, Loreana, Peter, Olga, and others. Tim, an M31 SED, was also there, and I met both him and his partner. They live in Glodeni which isn’t far from Riscani and invited us to come to their national park for a tour, which is 300 lei regardless of the size of the group. I think this would be a great idea for volunteers in the next month or so.
I also introduced DJ to Sandru and Nastia because he is going to train them on entrepreneurship skills so they can start a business in the future (SRL, I think it’s called), which they can do in addition to their ONG, AO Tara Verde. Sandru and Nastia both mentioned possible businesses like a recycling company processing plant or transportation service. Sandru also talked about wanting to fundraise for opening an office in Riscani, which is about $1000 over the course of six months. I mentioned organizing a battle of the bands, but when I spoke to the girlfriend of one of the volunteers who has these kinds of connections, she said he might not be interested in something like that. We’ll have to talk more about it in the next couple weeks.
Among the information we received at the forum, which was funded by the Let Girls Lead (LGL) grant (thanks, Michelle Obama), were brochures about Tara Verde and the forum itself. I found myself this afternoon reading over the Tara Verde brochure. We printed 150 of Russian and 150 of Romanian, and the one I grabbed was the former. Looking through the text, I realized I understood a good portion of what Nastia had written. In regards to my development of Russian, I am beyond words appreciative of how much I have learned from Nastia. I remember first asking Sandru if he would teach me Russian, and he immediately suggested Nastia teach me instead because she’s a native speaker. So, there we were; I picked it up more quickly than with my past two teachers out of necessity to understand each other because she is also learning Romanian and English.
After the forum, I felt my extroverted charge expire. I haven’t spoken with any team members since exiting the rutiera, saying goodbye to the volunteers one by one as we walked home, and retreating to my apartment for some alone time.
There were some aspects of the forum that could have been better. I think a little more structure was needed. I didn’t see evidence of participants needing to do anything after the forum besides fill out a feedback survey, although from my understanding the participants were expected to organize projects with the different organizations afterwards. But, I do know that several practical activities will happen in the next coming months, including a clean up and planting flowers. I hope other activities will also happen. The closing ceremony of the Green Vision project will be May 15, five days before the closing of Let’s Recycle, Riscani which will be on May 20th.
I’ve been thinking about some of the feedback I’ve gotten about other colleagues these past few weeks. A bit of it has been negative. I’ve been considering how I should approach this issue. I think my colleagues should know what has been said about them, but in a productive, proactive way. I think once I get access to the feedback survey for the forum (I asked my colleague for a copy), I’ll be able to express some of this. Or, perhaps we will have another joint meeting where we can discuss the forum: what we could have done better, what was done well, etc.
The main concerns I have are within the group. Our leaders have not been fully reliable; one has been consistently late the past few meetings leading up to the forum, despite demanding the rest of the volunteers be on time. Also, this colleagues’s bossy tone makes several volunteers uncomfortable confronting her; instead, they confront me. Another colleague has been aggressive and pushy of their ideas instead of listening to different opinions of the group, and these dynamics have caused some animosity amongst everyone. I hope we will find some time over the next few months to repair these issues.
“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day . . . And then one day you find ten years have got behind you . . . Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way . . .” – Time by Pink Floyd.