razeni.jpgLast Saturday, the Eco-Razeni Youth Volunteer Group carried out their first official volunteer activity. Everyone met near the park in Razeni, and broke into small groups to search out the messiest areas. In all, about 14 people worked to clean the park for nearly two hours, leaving the park in a far nicer state than it originally was. Many people observed their from the street, and perhaps learned of their dedication to having a clean and healthy village.

The trash in the park is due to the disregard of the people who visit the park. The park is a popular location for barbecues and general leisure, so many store-bought products are brought along. These products are typically discarded on the ground, where they can remain for hundreds of years, depending on the type of material. Each individual may only add one piece of trash on his or her visit, however this certainly adds up. If every day, 10 people visit, and only half of the people leave one piece of trash, that is 35 new pieces of trash every week. It is important that we educate one another on the importance of properly storing our garbage.

The trash problem is further complicated by nearby roads and convenient stores. People buy products at the stores, such as drinks and ice creams, and discard the wrappers and bottles on the road as they pass the park. The wind and rains carry the trash into the park. The trash quickly accumulates in the park. This is a problem for a variety of reasons. Not only is some trash directly harmful to people (old batteries leak acid, broken glass can cut feet), but as it slowly degrades in the soil, it destroys the quality of Moldova's rich soil, which is especially problematic in an agriculture-based economy.

The importance of the volunteers' work is two-fold: firstly, they cleaned the park, and it is now safer and nicer than before. However, secondly, and more importantly, the volunteers have shown others and themselves that the power to improve their village lives within themselves. This teaches the youths valuable life skills, such as leadership and planning. Now that they have begun to understand their own power, they can help spread this idea to others and hopefully lead more people to spend their own free time to work for the betterment of the entire village.

By Walt Venable - Volunteer Peace Corps Moldova