All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Freedom Festival

I tried explaining to my nephew that we were having a festival regarding anti-human trafficking. After a long back and forth I realized that we were not having a festival about human trafficking, we were having a festival for freedom. So thanks, Chris. Once again you opened up my eyes to your dizzying intellect.
My friends Dylan and Erin have been planning this festival for months. It is not easy to get a group of Moldovans, or anyone really, in a room and set forth a plan for a week long festival. Dylan and Erin are super human beings and managed to make it happen. The week began in the schools. The in country organization called "La Strada" came to Cahul and went into the local high schools to do an awareness campaign about human trafficking. This is not an easy task. I mean we are about a week from Last Bell (the last day of school) the kids are anxious for summer and it's not easy to ask them to sit down and listen to all the bad things that can happen to them if they want to live/work abroad. 
The local theatre of Cahul also did some live performances intermixed with informational videos. The man who runs the theatre is incredible and is a 'doer' and I'm so excited to have been able to make contact with him. It's always nice to encounter people who not only love what they do but love their community. 
On Saturday, we held a round table discussion and invited experts on human trafficking as well as administrative people like the Mayor, city council members, the US Embassy and our Peace Corps Country director. It was an informal discussion regarding an action plan to combat human trafficking. 

Volunteers: Holly, Monika, Keith, Leigh, Country Director Jeffrey Goveia, me, Maggie and Dylan.
The week was supposed to conclude with a big open air concert on Saturday night featuring two popular Moldovan singers, Stella Botson and Adrian Ursu. However, on Friday, one of Moldova's premiere Opera singers passed away. So our brand new President issued a decree that Saturday was to be a National Day of Mourning and all outdoor events were to be cancelled. I mean what better way to celebrate the life of a musician than to cancel anything musically related? Dylan and Erin went into panic mode and through many meetings and phone calls, they moved the concert to Sunday evening. Good thing too as Saturday evening was one giant thunderstorm and Sunday was sunny and beautiful. The concert was wonderful. Students from Holly's, Erin's and Dylan's schools all spoke about human trafficking and then introduced the singers.
Stella singing.

Students speaking about trafficking.

Adrian invites Dylan up to dance with him.
The evening was a success. It had been a lot of work and a lot of stress but in the end it worked. Hopefully we educated a whole new group of people about the dangers of human trafficking. It is still a very real problem in this and many other parts of the world. Plus, being surrounded by a fantastic group of people can get you through anything.

My Russian A Team; Sasha, Stefan, Me and Viktor. (Vlad is not pictured)

I loathe these two...Brad and Dylan.

The gang - Me, Dylan, Erin, Holly, Natasha, Maggie, Adam and Brad. Ryne is taking the photo.

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