Friday, October 5, 2012

Peace Corps Email #12

Original Sent Date:  April 7, 2005

More Various Chicken Parts

Hello everyone back home!

I haven’t been very good at keeping you all updated.
I’ve been crazy busy planning camps and writing grants in Romanian (which surprisingly much harder when it’s not in your native language!).  Thank you all so much for donating to Opening Doors—it’s great.  But, more help is still needed.  I’ll put the info at the bottom of this e-mail.
On Saturday, I helped my host mom kill a rooster. Ok, well, actually, I watched while she killed it.  This was new for me, as I usually try to avoid being around when things are dying or being murdered with a rusty ax.  So, she chopped off its head and the thing ran around squirting blood while it was going out of style… very cheesy 80’s horror movie.  I helped pluck that sucker bald.  While Doamna Natasa was butchering it into those tasty sections we all just assume chickens are naturally born pre-packaged in.  Yum.  So I got a tutorial in various and assorted chicken organs.  She seemed surprised when I had told her I had seen the inside of animals before since Daddy-Pot-Pie is a vet (of course, I didn’t mention that I usually faint when watching Dad operate—mostly because I don’t know the verb “to faint” in Romanian).

Then: Doamna Natasa took the chicken stomach, cut it open, and feed the insides to the rest of the chickens. This is thrift in an entirely new sense of the word.  To take half-way digested food can re-use it for the nutrition of another.  Kind of like a momma bird feeding her offspring, only a heck of a lot bloodier.  And, man, those chickens really seemed to like that digested corn.
On the 23rd of April, Kyle and I are going to Istanbul.  It will be my first trip outside of Moldova in over 7 months (can you believe I’m been here 7 months as of the 10 of April?!?!), so I think I earned it.  And Kyle, with big important med school man, he probably deserves it as well.  We’re going with four other guy volunteers, so it will be me and 5 men.  I’m not really sure how that happened, maybe it’s because I’ve somehow morphed into a 13 year-old boy, but it’s going to be really interesting.  A priest I met in my village told me that if we buy a sheep and cut his throat (this is a literal translation) and have a feast we will make friends for life.  After all that chicken blood, I’m not sure I want to cut anything’s throat, but, hey, maybe I’ll buy a sheep and Kyle can cut it.  He’s going to be a doctor, right?
A few weeks ago, my counterpart “a facut o sauna” meaning she has an actual sauna in her house (that’s not unusual here b/c it’s so COLD!) and fired it up for me and my host mom to come over and sit in.  It was a crazy experience: I tried to wear a swimsuit but got totally denied and mocked extensively for being “rusine” (shy/embarrassed—sorry that I keep typing in Romanian, sometimes I have trouble with the English words now), so I got a big sheet.  Doamna Maria kept pouring water with herbs over the hot rocks and I thought I might suffocate.  In that house, there are specifically timed intervals in which we leave the sauna.  After 15 minutes, we get out and drink beer and eat nuts, after 15 more we get out and eat some borscht, and after the final 15 minute interval we drink juice.  To me, that seems like a lot of thought/rules to go through for what should be a relaxing evening.  Of course, how relaxing can it be in a tiny room full of naked people?
Well, I think that’s it… have great times in America, eating at Applebees and shopping at Target.  Drink a mochafrapucino for me!  And, while you’re at it, help my really cute, super deserving kids have a camp!  I promise, if you all donate a little, I’ll stop sending e-mails solely about this camp.
Go to, click on “Donate Now.”  Chose the Region: “Europe and Asia.”  Scroll down until you find Moldova, Opening Doors Camp for Disadvantaged Youth with my name (D. Brownback) next to it.  Or, call this number and specify this camp (#800-424-8580 ext. 2170) Give, Give, Give!  I cannot thank you all enough! This will really help these kids sense of self-worth!


Most of my pictures from this time frame are close-ups of other random volunteer faces. Apparently, I was going around with my camera judging profiles and trying to pic a winner based on side-by-side shots.

I had a lot of time to come up with random projects.


Yep, just taking my picture with a random chicken.

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