CERI Kids Moldova

Welcome - This blog is about helping teenagers and young adults in the country of Moldova who have been discharged from government operated orphanages. They need help learning to live safely on their own, mentoring, getting more education (above the 9th grade), finding jobs and making good decisions. For more information go to http://www.cerikids.org/

Monday, August 1, 2011

This will be my last post from Moldova. The last full day of the camp was Saturday and after breakfast we gave out camp T-shirts and had fun taking lots of pictures. Every one posed together, then small groups and finally as many individual and friend pictures as you could.

The boys in my group were really fun and we had many good discussions - sometimes even on the topic. This camp also gave me the oportunity to spend time with the young lady my wife (Cheryl) and I spornor. Her name is Svetlana. She lives in the city of Cahul (southern Moldova) and she is studying in the cooking college - meaning she is learning a trade (cooking) and will also earn a high school diploma. I learned that she is also very interested in learning about keeping bees. This summer she has been working in the fields to earn extra money for her mother and younger siblings. The days are long and hot and she earns the equivalent of just about $9 a day.

Saturday night was a wonderful night of celebration - a special meal (with coke), a Christain rock concert (yes, very loud), an awsome fireworks display followed by a roaring camp fire and to top off the evening - a cantina was set up to serve special coffee, tea, chocolate and cookies. The celebrating went on until 2 am. The next moring started a little slow but all that we had was breakfast, packing up and tearful good-byes.

So, for now, good bye Tabara Calarasi, good bye my friends and good by Moldova.

Selecting pictures to post is very difficult - so many to choose from . Here are just a few to represent the activities of the week. Above is a group in a relay competition.

Some thing as simple as a plastic sheet with water and dish soap makes a great slide and the boys get clean :).

Another activity was a combination of relay and obstacle course.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This posting is being done now that I am back in Chisinau and have a firmer grip on the illusive internet. The camp is over, but really continues in the lives of the 90 young people who participated in the 6 full days of Viata de Succes. What an incredible time of watching, engaging and learning. I have over 200 pictures (and I took the fewest of all the team). The two posted here don't even scratch the service or begin to tell all the great stores. There were times of gathering as a large group for singing, skits, guest speakers and worship where the energy and enthusiasm was very strong. We also met in smaller groups split between boys and girls to discuss topics and ask questions. Let me be the first to admit that when in a group of teenage boys and one of them asks you if you think you are successful, you do a quick and honest assessment of what is important, how to communicate it and say a little prayer before opening your mouth. These are moments of truth and sweaty palms. While the participants came from 3 different cities, there was no tribal behavior, forming of cliques or establishing pecking orders.

As the week progressed the skits became more creative with several groups putting together video clips. One group of boys did a skit of well choreographed synchronized swimming (on the stage) that was side spliting.

This year I became more closely connected with the older boys (young men). They have always challenged me in the past and I was hesitant to get involved with them (the hard ones to get through to). I was able to see them with different eyes and approach them with a more accepting attitude than in the past. Talk about a growth experience - one for me. More on the camp tommorw as I need to catch up on a little sleep.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We have completed day two of the camp and all has gone well. The youth are fully engaged in the program of activities, presentations, discussion groups, skits, games and hanging out. At the right is a pictured captured from day one. Sandy, a first time visitor to Moldova, has a one on one with Maria who is at the camp for the first time. The translator helps bridge the languate gap. Group activities for 90 youth are important, but here is where it really happens. We all look for these moments.

The small groups for discussions and activities are organized arround cabins (casa) and have student and team leaders. each day one or two of the groups prepare skits which combine entertainment and reflect the message for the day from the speakers. I am always amazed at the creativity of the youth as they plan the skit, make costumes and props and then present it. There are some real fun moments, however, I am not sure pictures would do them justice.

One the first night each group had to introduce itself and make a small presentation. This included the Moldovan and American team members. The American team came to the moment armed with 7 cans of silly string totally

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sandy and I arrived safely (with all our baggage - answered prayer) last night (Friday). We were very tired after about 24 hours in route and a little wasted time turning back to Atlanta for a mechanical problem. It's always an adventure. No, problem, that just reduced our lay over in Frankfurt from 8 hours to 3 (yawn). Saturday we journeyed to down town Chisinau for the obligatory picture in front of Stepan Cel Mare (15th century version of Geo Washington). I also made time for a cup of coffee at my favorite little cofffe shop and some people watching. Team members from Texas (Miriam, Misty, Kim and Bobby) got here tonight (Saturday). We had a wonderful dinner together at the IMB Mission Team House (guest house). It was Sandy's birthday so we had a cake, with a candle, and sang to her, of course. Tomorrow we go to church and prepare for the camp. We are all very excited about the camp and how each of the youth will respond the theme of Viata de Succes (success for life). This is a very important and difficult time for them. Many will be finishing their schools and completing their CERI transitional program with us. Jobs and independent living responsibilities are before them - do you remember how that felt? It is getting late and I have made enough type-o's. Good night (noapta buna) and God bless.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's summer and time for the third annual camp event for our Transitional Living Program. The picture above is from last year's camp - it was great. This year the theme of the camp will be "Viata de succes" or in English - "Life of Success". We will have speakers, activities and discussions focusing on perceptions and realities of success, what success is, setting goals and plans for personal success. This will be a great opportunity for about 85 to 90 of the youth in the CERI program for personal growth. The team from the U.S. will consist of 4 people from San Antonio, TX, 2 from Midlothian, VA and 1 from Atlanta, GA. Posts to this blog will occur over the course the camp - The Lord willing and internet access :)