Author: María de Blas Aranda
My name is María and I am a Spanish EU-funded volunteer in the city of Comrat, Gagauzia. I have been here for just a few months, but I can already say with certainty that it is an incredible experience; I am discovering a completely new culture and meeting new people open to learning and sharing their knowledge and experiences with others.
I have always wanted to go abroad for a volunteering project, and when I found Miras Moldova’s vacancy I said to my self that this was the chance to do it! My work consists of filming videos, interviewing different people, taking pictures and writing articles about Gagauzian culture. Thanks to this I am learning a lot about Gagauzia and its inhabitants. Miras Moldova also has a wonderful project called “Equal chances for a decent future”, through which the volunteers support people with disabilities. Even though both projects are separate, sometimes we collaborate — making this experience much more rewarding.
When I first came to Comrat, a lot of people had warned me that it’s a small city without many things to do. But in fact, since I arrived I have been doing a lot of things! Thanks to my work as a journalist at Miras Moldova, I have had the chance to attend different traditional festivities such as ‘Martisor’, ‘Maslenitsa’ and ‘Hederlez’. These festivities are characterized by their vibrant colours, traditional music and food, and energetic local dances, such as the «horas» — a fun dance we are trying to learn from our local friends.
Of course there are some days when we are less busy and we have nothing to do, but this relaxing atmosphere is in fact what I love the most about Comrat. In my hometown, Madrid, every street is crowded, and there is a lot of noise and pollution due to the traffic. Here I have a more relaxing and quiet life, and I don’t feel as if I am running everywhere as I used to at home. Moreover, Comrat is near the capital city (Chisinau), so if we feel like wanting to do something more fun at the weekend or meeting up with other EU volunteers, we can always take a ‘marshrutka’ and, after less than two hours’ travel, spend a fantastic weekend there!
But, without doubt, my favourite thing about Gagauzia is the people that I am meeting. Even though it can sometimes be a little bit difficult to communicate with locals because most of them only speak Russian, they always try to connect with foreigners. Gagauzian people are really welcoming and I always feel at home with them!