We Are Different

#TeamMoldova

Our team climbed onto the bus again. People jumping in and out of conversations, off-color jokes eliciting raucous laughter, hugs and “I love you’s” being freely exchanged. Ten American & Canadian women and we. are. loud. I know that about me, but I somehow managed to go on a trip with an entire team of loud women. Moldova is a quiet country. When we were talking to some young women on Thursday night at the youth club, they said that in their country, they are often concerned about what other people might think about them, so they tend to be very quiet and reserved. Today when Vladimir invited his congregation to “create chaos to praise God,” the congregation of about 150 Moldavians turned to one another and in whispers, spoke to one another. It was the most low-key chaos I have … [Read more...]

Stuff I’ve Been Reading: Moldova Edition

Photo by Jenni Clayville

I know it's a little early for a Stuff I've Been Reading post, but tomorrow I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to hang out with my teammates, having a little Purcari wine and eating some Prestigiu wafers and crying, so this will be my last post from here in Moldova. Today I'm linking up my favorite posts from my team members. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know these women. They are incredible, strong, courageous women with amazing stories and I'm honored to call them my friends. Nicole Wick was the team leader who invited me to join this team. I am so happy to have finally met her in person. I love the story that she shared about her experience with one of the girls. I had the privilege of being with her during this moment and it was a holy one. The first … [Read more...]

Beginning

Beginning

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Girl Leads Totally Normal Life

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Last night, we came back to the hotel and went to the restaurant where some of us ate ice cream and drank a little Moldavian wine. We shared some of our own stories. We talked about good blogging practices. I said that I didn't feel like I had any stories to share yesterday. Of course, I'm brimming with stories, but some feel like they need to sit and be worked through in my mind before I'm ready to share them. I need time to process. I want to do the stories of the men and women that I'm meeting here justice. They deserve AT LEAST my very best writing. I sat and listened to two gentlemen speak yesterday about their work in prevention and how they find that people are less likely to support preventative measures because it's hard to measure success of people who never fall in the … [Read more...]

My Gift

Crochet

When I woke up this morning, I put on black and grey to reflect my dark mood. Yesterday was one of the hardest days I've ever experienced. I'll be honest, I was ready to be done. Not really, but mostly. I certainly didn’t want to go back to Beginning of Life. Yes, they are doing amazing things there. I had already had the opportunity to see women like Alla and Natalia interacting with the girls there. I saw how invested men like Sergei and Benjamin were in working with prevention of trafficking in the schools here in Chisinau. I had met two of the most beautiful little baby girls you’d ever want to snuggle with and their amazing, courageous mothers. I had seen these positive examples, but they were competing against some really horrific things. It was difficult for me to see past … [Read more...]

An Ember of Hope

Bible

I’m annoyed right now because I can’t internet on my phone and my computer at the same time. I want to send pictures from my phone to my computer, but the cable doesn’t work right so I have to email them to myself. But first I have to log out of the connection on my computer (which I only just FINALLY got to work), wait a minute, log into my phone (and pray that the connection works again), email the pics, then log off of my phone, wait AGAIN, and then retrieve them on my computer so I can use them on my Very Important Blog. I suck so hard, I can’t even stand to think about it. +++++++ We walked up a muddy road. We were in one of the villages outside of Chisinau, away from the noise and busyness of the city. Helen and I were with Sergei and Olga, two of the staff members at … [Read more...]

Holding Back the Ocean

Moldova landing

I've been awake for all but about two of the past thirty hours. Pittsburgh to Charlotte to Munich and finally to Chisinau. That last little stretch of flight afforded me those two hours of sleep, due to an extremely unhappy young traveler on our long flight to Germany. So as we were listening to Vladimir tell us about girls sold into slavery to cover the cost of a bottle of vodka and girls who are primed from 11 to become prostitutes by the very people who are supposed to be giving aid to these orphans and young women who come to Beginning of Life and ask, “Where was God when I was raped?” I knew that I couldn’t lose it. Because if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I'm going to cry. There are stories here that deserve oceans of tears. Ugly, hateful, shit-covered, … [Read more...]

New Memories

my girls 2

The next time I write here, it will not be here. I won't be sitting on my couch or on my bed (yes, I often write in my bed - I know). I'll be far, far away from these comforts. I know this isn't special. I know that people travel overseas all the time. I know that people do a hell of a lot more to fight human trafficking and sex slavery than this little eight day trip. I know that people see worse things and endure worse conditions than I'm about to see and endure. And I know that there are people who are probably better suited for this trip. People who have a better knowledge about human trafficking. People who know what it's like to endure sexual abuse. People who are seasoned world travelers and know how to get from point America to point Moldova without being unclear exactly what … [Read more...]

The Nitty Gritty

Beginning of Life

So the other day I realized that I haven't given you folks a lot of details about what I'm going to be doing in Moldova. Part of that is because I didn't have a whole lot of details to give, but part is because I'm not a very detail oriented kind of gal. Stuff just happens when it happens and I just go with it. But since I know people like to have more information than, "Going to a country that you may  not know where it is and spending time with girls who were victims of sex trafficking," I thought I'd give you a quick run-down of some of the things we'll be doing. I leave on Sunday, January 20 and return on Monday, January 28. Here's Moldova: The capital is Chisinau, which I still don't know how to pronounce (I think it's something along the line of keesheenew, but don't … [Read more...]

Fits Like a Boot

Moldova Boots

If you had told me that I would be really excited about a pair of Harley Davidson boots, I would have called you a liar. And yet on Friday night, I was giddy to purchase these bad boys. Jason and I went out to dinner on Friday night to celebrate our anniversary. He asked if I wanted to do anything else while we were out and about, and I asked if we could stop by the shoe store and I could look for a new pair of boots for Moldova. I have several pairs of boots already, but none that were very suited for an eastern European winter. I had in mind the kind of boots that I should get. Some kind of UGGs knock-off. Cute, warm, and practical, but not particularly me. I tried on a few boots like that and was trying to decide between the grey pair and the black pair. I walked to the end of … [Read more...]