It is wonderful to celebrate, specially if you are celebrating 22 years of peace and friendship. This was precisely the theme during Peace Corps Romanian’s Gala held at the US Ambassador’s Residence in Bucharest on September 27, 2012.
The Gala was set up as an interactive country fair where regions of Romania were represented by art, photography, dance, food/drink, and traditions while the collaboration between Romania and US was displayed by volunteer’s work, Peace Corps committees, and legacy projects. Guest, made up of language trainers, Peace Corps staff, volunteers, friends, counterparts, host families, and community partners, were able to participate in each interactive booth by painting eggs, tasting local wine, navigating through an obstacle course while blindfolded, pottery painting, reading volunteer’s legacy projects, and by practicing their Romanian “footwork”. In particular, my friend Daciana’s booth displayed her art by means of paintings and vases. During the interactive part of the booth she held a 30 minute workshop where guest had the opportunity to design their own ceramic plate with the influence of Romanian folkloric traditions. The participant’s positive response to this workshop is just one example of the success of this event.
It has taken me awhile to process this event, as is the case with many things out here, but now that I’ve cleared my mind and have taken a step back I really can’t believe I’ve been here/away (I’m using both words loosely) for way over a year. Many true, long lasting friendships have been developed in such a short time and moments have been lived that I can’t display in a booth. I have stories, inside jokes, road trips, birthdays, school celebrations that I need to organize somewhere so they don’t get lost with new moments. Maybe the last months will force me to blog more, write more or live more; whichever comes first will be the right choice.
After leaving I felt a warmth of community synergy unrecognizable before. Grateful to have lived that moment and delighted to share it here.
Below are pictures and descriptions of the booths.
Additional booths (sorry I have no pictures for these)
- Peace Corps Romania’s Legacy/Muntenia: featuring Peace Corps Romania ‘s “Legacy” projects
- Leadership Development & Civic Empowerment/Crisana, Arad
- Scouts of Romania/Transylvania: an interactive display featuring the international scouting program in Romania.
- Land of Wood/Oltenia : display of beautiful photographs showcasting Romania though Volunteer lenses
- Life Skills for the Blind/Moldova: The booth gave guests the opportunity to navigate an “OBSTACLE COURSE” using a cane, as well as an interactive “blindfold activity” station to “understand that there are methods and techniques to learning skills” for a blind person to function normally in daily life.
- Compost Happens!/Moldova: Former Environmental PCV and who is now working in the private sector in Cluj, Deborah Buckley will be showcasing the actual composting project she set up at the Ambassador’s Residence during her service.
- THE SPOON MAN – demonstrations of decorative wooden spoon carving
* Thank you to the volunteers who let me use their photos.