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Life in Moldovan Villages

This page is a breif descriptionof life in villages and what to expect if you're going to one. For more details, please see Q&A or e-mail me.

A village churchCompared even to Chisinau, villages are very poor places (economically speaking). Houses usually are one storey high (no second floor or basement), although sometimes the richer people build bigger houses. The main energy source in winter is firewood and coal (if the people manage to buy some). There are regular and often long power shortages (virtually every day) and the phone lines are usually down at the same time too. The television consists of two-three channels (National Moldovan TV, Romanian Channel 1 and in the evenings in some areas Russian Channel 1 - ORT). You normally won't be able to use a mobile phone in a village, because virtually all villages are situated in valleys, and the surrounding hills kill the transmission signal)

A village viewYou shouldn't worry about food, unless you're a vegetarian or want to keep a special diet (the food usually contains a lot of fats - pork, turkey, goose, chicken etc). But it will all be biologically clean (no hormones or GM foods of any sorts). You'll be offered wine, that's for sure. Home-made red or white (or both). If you refuse, people will insist, but I don't think they will be offended if you explain that you don't drink (if this is the case). When drinking wine at a meal, there is often one glass (not a special wine glass, but a simple one) and a jug. The head of the family would pour each person a glassful and that person would say a simple toast (unless it's a special occasion).

A crucifix at the top of a hill

I must mention that the toilets will be outside and most likely without any seats.

A gardenA normal household in a village would have a house and a tiny bit of land around it (the garden) plus a small vineyard, which is usually cultivated using only manual labour and primitive tools like spades, hoes, rakes. The bigger vineyards' owners may rent a tractor and hire more workforce.

A couple of fruit treesYou're unlikely to find any sort of tarmac there, so if it rains persistently (and it may), a pair of mud-proof boots will be useful. If you don't have any, your host will be glad to give you some (if they have any). If it's summer and it doesn't rain, it will be dusty. Also, if you happen to be caught by heavy rains in a village, it's advisable to get to a higher ground, because floods are not unusual (the water just runs through the village down the valley and many houses don't resist during the most heavy rains, as well as people in water's way), but that's in the summer. Hail is also a possibility (up to the size of an egg and even bigger sometimes). But it's not that likely to happen.

Grazing goatsYou have to be prepared for people staring at you (a foreigner in a village is a very rare occurrence). I don't know if you speak Russian or Romanian but communication might be jeopardized if you don't. Even if you speak Russian, they might understand it but not speak it freely. But I'm sure there will be a kid who studied English in school (although that's not a guarantee that he/she will be able to communicate with you). So it would be better if you had a bilingual dictionary.

A hill slope above a village