This week our village celebrated "Ziua Satului", the Day of the Village. Each village has its own celebration, but different villages have different dates throughout the year. Each family prepares lots of traditional dishes and invites friends and family to come in for a few days to eat, drink, and celebrate. A former Peace Corps volunteer that served in my village three years ago flew in from the US to visit Zgurita for the first time since he left. He also lived with my host family, so it was a big celebration for them to welcome in their old friend. It was a lot of fun sitting with another American who knows everything about my family, my village, and most of the experience that I am going through. He had not forgotten any of his Romanian, so we were all able to sit around the table for a few days, eat, and tell some good stories with our host family about our shared American experience in Moldova.
My work partner/host mom to the left wearing red, making "galushi" with some of her friends.
Galush, also known as sarmale, are cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, carrots, onions, meat, and pepper. These take a long time to prepare, but they are a Moldovan favorite.
I'm putting a pot of the "galushi" into a traditonal wood-fired oven. We were able to fit five pots in the oven at the same time to cook for a few hours.
After a few days of prepping food, we're finally at the dinner table. Here are my host family (minus my old host dad), two current PC volunteers, and the former PC volunteer who came to visit.
My host sister, Lenutsa. I speak to her with a mixture of Romanian and English, her mom and dad speak to her in Russian, and her grandparents speak to her using a strong Moldovan dialect of Romanian. She probably thinks we've lost our minds.
Neal, Derick, and I took a hike out of my village to see the countryside. We ran into an 83 year-old lady who was coming back from gathering some nuts, and like most "baba's" in the village, she was not shy about stopping us in the field and asking who we were and what we were doing there. She then proceeded to hand us all kinds of food and said, "Why are you young boys walking to the forest without food? This old lady has a bag full of food, but you boys don't have anything. Here, take this food and eat! Be healthy!" Two minutes before we didn't know this lady, and two minutes later she's forcing her hospitality upon us. Gotta love Moldova.