Monday, August 13, 2007

News and notes (Justin)

We had a good weekend. Saturday, we visited the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography in Chisinau. No pictures from there because you had to pay for flash photography. It was a big museum filled with stuffed animals, fossils, a giant mastadon skeleton, ancient crafts, and history of Moldova. Fun and interesting.
Sunday we did church with our host family's parents. A very big Baptist church. Tatiana, our host family mother has several brothers and sisters there, her brother and father are pastors.

Sunday night was a special occasion. Our boss, Ghenna, arrived from a conference in Peru, so we're finally acquainted with him! Dan and Beth Stafford also arrived from Holland with their baby, Rebekah. Dan works for BPN in some capacity and we look forward to getting to know them over the next 3 weeks. The Staffords treated us all to dinner at a nice place downtown to celebrate Ghenna and Alina's 6th wedding anniversary. In the picture it's Beth, Rebekah, Dan and myself on the left. Kelly, Alina, and Ghenna on the right. It was fun.

Problems: One macroeconomic problem we currently have is that the dollar continues to plunge against the Leu. The official exchange rate has fallen to 12 Leu/ Dollar, and shows no signs of stopping. When we first got here it was about 12.12, and it was 12.48 when we first started raising funds. On the street we get much less than the official rate, of course, 11.75 is the highest I saw today.

To put that in terms of cost, we raised funds expecting $8000 to be enough at an exchange rate of 12.48. At the current rate of 11.75, we need 5.8% more, or about $468, and this number goes up daily as the dollar falls. In total, we have raised $9,090, so we're VERY thankful to have some cushion. That's a praise.

Hopefully our living quarters will be finished in the next couple days, so we can give our host family their daughters' room back!

More soon on our official project assignment and developments with that. The ball officially got rolling for us today!

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