Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Surreal

I know I have been away from blogging for a bit, but I just had a surreal experience, and since I am not going to get anything substantial accomplished tonight anyway, I thought I would quickly put up a post and let you all know I am still alive.
Anyway, I just finished chatting online with my host brother. (In case I forgot to mention this previously....I left my village after extending my service and I am now working in the capitol city). This may seem fairly pedestrian (chatting online that is), but to me it is an incredible symbol of time flying by. When I arrived in my village 2.5 years ago they didn't even have touch tone phone service. I spent many a night there patiently waiting for my emails to eke through on a dial-up connection at 36k. My laptop was probably the only one in the village at that point.
Now, they are on the cusp of having DSL access (though they have been "almost ready" for almost 8 months now), the town has it's own computer lab, and there are at least 6 laptops sprinkled throughout the community due to grants and donations. Having a computer at home has become a somewhat normal, though still not a commonplace thing.
None of these are glacial changes, but it still struck me as odd as I was typing away. Part of it I think is the realization that technology is starting to catch on here while many other parts of the society and infrastructure are continuing to stagnate or are even falling behind. It is encouraging that the Moldovans will have access to high speed internet, even in the rural areas. Why though are there schools still without decent bathrooms, and hospitals that can't afford to buy rubber gloves? My current job here is focused on promoting technology usage and education, so these kind of things give me pause. Is giving them computer skills what we really should be doing?
On a brighter note, the conversation boosted my ego a bit. My host brother's skill in English has progressed to the point that he actively tries to avoid Romanian when we talk face to face or on the phone. That leaves me one less chance though to keep my language skills fresh. I don't get to use them much here in the capitol because of the large Russian influence, and the fact that I am always around English speakers. Anyway, he still feels shy about writing, and doesn't know how to type yet, so to save time we stuck to writing in Romanian....and he understood me! It is nice to know I can still write even after six months of being a city slicker.
Finally, I think our conversation made me realize how little time there is that I have left here. I delayed the inevitable goodbyes by extending for 10 months, but come summer I will be on a plane back home. I have communicated with my family and friends via the internet almost exclusively since I left the US, either with email or VOIP (skype, googletalk). The fact that communication with my host family has now migrated to the web seems like an omen, like I have already partly left Moldova.

1 comment:

fraud snoop said...

Hopefully the advances in information technology will expand knowledge & give Moldovans a "voice" to the rest of the world. Infrastructure change is very slow, but it will evolve. PC volunteers should be proud of their accomplishments. We look forward to your return home. The crew in Omaha...