The afternoon silence is torn by the rolling thunder of wheel on rail as the train trundles into the station in Chisinau, Moldova, the capital of Europe’s poorest country. The locomotive chokes to a stop, towering over the central platform. Patient, a woman waits as the hiss of the diesel engine fades to silence and stillness reclaims the afternoon. Deliberate, she stands and walks purposefully to the train’s door. Slow. Steady. She grabs the handrail, steps up, and boards the train. All are aboard, waiting to depart.
– Leo D. Redmond ©2009
Peace Corps Volunteer (Agroforestry/Food), Paraguay 2002-04, Panama 2006, Guatemala 2008
Republic of Moldova/Republica Moldova
In Eastern Europe; moderate rolling steppe, slopes south to Black Sea; 33,851 km2 (slightly > MD), 54.5% arable.
Capital Chisinau (.07M)
Population 4.3M (53/km2)
Life expectancy 71 years
Languages Moldovan (official), virtually like the Romanian language, Russian, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)
Religions Eastern Othodox 98%, Jewish 1.5%, Baptist and other 0.5%
Ethnic Groups Moldovan/Romanian 78%, Ukrainian 8%, Russian 6%, Gagauz 4%, Bulgarian 2%, other 2%
PCVs 1993 to present; economic and organizational development, English, health education, agriculture & agrobusiness (Volunteers in country: 117; total to date: 1,033)
Nat’l holiday Independence Day, 27 August (1991)