Tuesday May 7 and it’s another beautiful day in Moldova. It is the last day of the Easter Holiday, and for most of the people, it is another day of visiting, shopping and eating. It was a late breakfast for us, as the night owls didn’t get up until 9 am. I confess that I too slept late, not getting up until 6:03 am!
After breakfast we went to Cahul, where Herb visited the dentist. He wanted to see if he could get a crown made and attached in the short amount of time that he has left. Michael’s dentist had agreed to see him and give an opinion if it could be done in time. So we left Herb in her capable hands and Michael, Huffy and I went shopping for some supplies we needed.
I was looking for a good short-handled shovel to carry along with us in our travels so that we could dig up roots and do some evaluations and education. I was also looking for some gardening tools to give to Angelica, to make lawn and garden care easier. Michael knew exactly what I was looking for and said; “I don’t think you will find it here. But we will look.”
Visiting the marketplace, a Green Dragon wanna be, we found lots of interesting stuff, things that Michael was looking for, but nothing that I wanted. They had plenty of shovels, a few gardening tools, but nothing of the type or quality that I desired. Guess I’ll just have to find a way to get them into my suitcase the next trip.
Michael was able to find another sprinkler to water the grass that the Americans have corrupted him into planting in his yard. Now that it is grass instead of garden, he needs to keep it well watered, so that he can spend time mowing it to keep it looking nice. And in true Michael fashion, when he got it home to try it, he took parts of the old, broken one he was replacing and replaced some of the parts of the new one.
I have told Michael I don’t know why anyone makes anything without showing him first. He always is able to take something, simplify it and make it better. It is a common trait of many Moldovans, who can take a pair of pliers, a hammer, some wire and a few other odds and ends, and build a Mercedes. When I kidded him about what he was doing, he said, “Well, I just wanted to get the maximum.”
We then went back to see how Herb was making out. He decided while he was in the dentist’s chair, he may as well get a chipped tooth repaired. For the repair and all of the preparation for the crown, he paid $32. The crown will set him back another $69. And he will get it attached on Saturday. It’s worth the cost of the plane ticket just to come to Cahul, Moldova to for dental work.
After lunch, we went to see some of the fields I had visited during planting last week. Along the way we stopped to see the “canyon”, a giant ditch that is the result of soil erosion. It is a tremendous example of why better farming practices are needed in this country. It’s hard to describe it, you will simply have to come with me and see it.
As we were driving to the fields I wanted to visit, we saw some corn being planted, so we stopped to talk to them. It was Dimitru Cotet, a man I had met on my last visit. He was there with his workers, happily planting corn with his new John Deere tractor and Italian corn planter. He was very glad to see us and we spent quite a bit of time talking to him about how he was doing things, learning from him and sharing ideas. I hope to be able to visit him in his vineyards next week.
The corn was emerging in the field I visited last week. The stand was uneven due to a variety of reasons – poor seed quality, uneven planting depth, and insect damage, ect. There are a lot ways that we need to demonstrate better agronomic practices in order to make the kind of progress that will help to make these farmers become successful.
Tuesday night the men were on their own, the ladies going to church. We faired well due to all of the leftovers from the many abundant meals we had the last couple of days. It was good to be able to be able to reflect on what had happened so far, and to plan what we would like to accomplish in the remaining time.
Wednesday morning we traveled to Chisinau to the Russian Embassy to see about getting a visa to Russia. I had hoped to be able to include Russia on this trip, to talk to a group about cover crops and forages. When we got to the embassy, there were a number of people waiting in line to get in. We finally were able to get an answer that we could not talk to anybody about a visa until next week, so that pretty much ruled out any plans to travel to Russia.
Michael said the scene at the Russian Embassy was the same at every countries embassy in Moldova, crowds of people trying to get out of Moldova because of the limited opportunities here. It makes our task of helping people create successful enterprises here even more critical. A country cannot prosper if all of her bright, talented, hard working people leave for greener pastures. Making it possible for the good people of Moldova to stay is what continues to motivate us.
Then it was lunch at La Placente where we enjoyed delicious food. We went to the Art Market, an outdoor market where all sorts of crafts, paintings and Moldovan souvenirs were available. We were able to get a number of things to bring home to show our friends and family that we were indeed in Moldova. Then we went to Metro, kind of a Moldovan Sam’s Club, where they have everything imaginable, and some pretty good quality stuff. We were able to buy some tools and other supplies that we need for our work here.
Wednesday evening we had supper with Eugen Tataru, the president of Moldovan Dairy Farm Service Agency. I was put in contact with Eugen because I shared my vision of what God has called me to do with a business associate who has become a very good friend. Mike knew a man who lives near him in Wisconsin who has been to Moldova many times, and helped Eugen start the agency here in Moldova. After a few phone calls to Bob, we determined that we have similar passions and desires to help farmers in Moldova. Bob was able to connect me with Eugen.
My connection with Mike, his connection to Craig, who was connected to Bob, who connected me to Eugen, is the vision God gave me, and is what led to the name of my ministry – AgConnect Ministries. And I quickly connected to Eugen, and the work he is doing here. Our supper led to an appointment on Friday morning to explore the possibilities of working together.
Thursday, May 9, was another Moldovan Holiday – the celebration of the end of World War II. Knowing that there was going to be limited opportunities to visit with people, we prayed that morning for a Divine Appointment. We decided to drive out to the Institute where the hybrid seed corn is produced for Moldova. I wanted David Huffman to see it, since he is with TA Seeds, a regional seed producer, doing research and marketing for 36 years.
The Institute was closed for the holiday, so I took the opportunity to do an impromptu agronomy lesson by digging up clover, alfalfa and vetch that was growing wild along side of the parking lot. As we were looking at roots and nodules, a man stopped and wondered what we were doing. As Michael explained about the crazy Americans, he invited us to go back and look at the production facilities since there were some people there.
We drove back and found a group of men standing around talking, so we introduced ourselves and told them what we were doing in Moldova. An older man stepped forward and introduced himself. His name was Pojoga Vasile, and he was the director of the Institute, the man who did all of the corn breeding, was in charge of the research and of all of the seed corn production. He was one of the most desired connections I had hoped to find in Moldova.
He asked if we would like to visit his research fields, and of course, we quickly agreed. So we spent quite a bit of time looking at hybrids he was developing, and looking at varieties from US companies that he was comparing to his own Moldovan varieties. It has opened the door for me to connect various people in the US seed industry to the right person to help develop better crops here in Moldova. He had also in the past been the director of the other seed Institute that produces the cereal grains, legumes and grasses for Moldova. He is going to make a connection with that director so that I can have the opportunity to visit that facility.
As we were rejoicing on our way back to Chisinau, we decided to stop at a farm machinery dealer where I had purchased a fertilizer spreader and other supplies on my trip 2 years ago. We saw that they were now a John Deere dealer, and we wanted to find out if we would be able to buy some replacement parts for our planter that we shipped over from the US for our projects here. They were open, and not very busy, so the young man who was the salesman, who spoke very good English, took lots of time to show us around and talk about all of the pieces of equipment they had on display. He was very helpful, and we have started a relationship that will serve us well in the future.
It was nearly impossible to find a place to eat lunch in the middle of Chisinau because of all of the people who were in the city because of all of the events planned for the day. So we ended up driving to the other end of Chisinau to Mall Dova, a shopping mall, to eat lunch at a very good restaurant. After a tremendous meal we drove back to the center and walked around the square where all of the activities were taking place.
We enjoyed seeing the people, and the decorations, and stopped for a while to watch an outdoor chess match on a large board with hand carved wooden pieces that were 2-3 foot tall. The match was between a young man and an older gentleman, who I took to be a war veteran, possibly from the Afghanistan war. The match appeared to be even, until a group of older men standing on the side of the younger man, started giving him advice. When the younger man made some moves that appeared to give him the advantage, the older man got quite upset at the men who were talking to the young man, and told them in language even I could understand, to be quiet and let the young man make his own decisions.
We enjoyed walking around and seeing all of the people enjoying the holiday. Then it was back to our host family, where we let Michael return to his village, and Herb, Huffy and I spent a relaxing evening catching up with what we had experienced so far. We sat outside drinking tea and eating cake, not needing anything else for supper, due to our late and filling lunch.
Friday morning, Igor Hmelic picked us up, and after a cup of coffee, we met with Eugen Tataru and his staff at Moldovan Dairy Farm Agency. A long meeting that lasted into early afternoon, where we exchanged vision, goals, and strengths of each of our organizations has led us to explore working together closely in the future. Eugen brought in another gentleman who is starting a feed milling operation, and is looking for help in designing feeds and supplements for various animals, and is looking for advice in what type of milling equipment to purchase. I have an appointment to visit his facility next week when I am in the northern part of the country following up on our project at Iablona.
We are trying to arrange some visits next week with some of the people that Eugen works with. Eugen is a former medical doctor who got involved with agriculture because he saw the great need in his country. He is also very well connected, and will try to get me an appointment with the Minister of Agriculture and also the Prime Minister, who he knows quite well. Talk about God opening doors! I am very excited about how God has been arranging those very important connections for AgConnect Ministries.
We then drove out to our project at Dancu, wanting to see how it looked after planting last week. There were a few skippers in the herbicide application, but overall it looked pretty good. The sunflowers were starting to sprout and some were emerging. There was some serious damage being done to the young plants from a bug known as “Long Nose”. We are going to look into spraying for them next week.
We also had a good time visiting with Dimitru about the work that he is doing there in Dancu. I have several ideas on how we can partner with them in their work, particularly on their dairy project. I’m sure that I will be talking to you about that in the future. We also had the opportunity to hear how God has worked in his life, before he was born, and throughout his ministry. The miracle of his life and his ministry will be the subject of a future video.
Igor brought us back to our host family, and then Herb, Huffy and I walked to Andy’s Pizza for supper. It was good to get out and go for a walk after all of the driving that we have been doing. We had the same waitress that we had several nights before, and she recognized the crazy Americans who could only communicate with gestures, pointing at pictures, and my limited Romanian. Despite of our limitations, we had a delicious meal, even having ice cream for dessert that we really didn’t need, but had been craving all week.
On Saturday morning Igor took us to Cahul, where we waited at the dentist’s office for a couple of hours for Herb’s tooth to arrive, and then for it to be attached. Huffy and I strolled the town, walking thru the farmers market in the center of town and stopping to watch a group of young people practicing dance routines at the outdoor theater. Herb seems to be suffering from some kind of allergic reaction to the type of Novocain that the dentist used. He was suffering a severe rash, achiness and stiffness in his neck. He had a couple of rough nights, and with some medication is finally feeling better.
We then made it to Vadul Lui Isac in time to catch the last hour and a half of the youth rally at Michael’s church. We ate lunch with the young people, about 250 of them. After lunch, we went to Michael and Angelica’s where we helped get ready for Adriana’s baptismal party on Sunday night. I was using the new grass trimmer to trim around all of the trees, fences, and flowerbeds. Michael asked, why was I trying to make it so perfect? I said it was a special day for a special young lady, and it was a way that I could contribute. He said, now Angelica is going to want me to do that every time. So once again we have corrupted the Moldovans!