Well let’s start off on a high note- I have the internetz in my very own apartment! Huzzah! As we speak ( ha ha, I just realized how dumb that comment is) I am sitting in my apartment wearing booty shorts and listening to some post grunge American music and connecting with you, dear reader, through the World Wide Web. Thank God for Al Gore and his divinely inspired invention. But don’t worry tax payers, rest assured that I will only use this new tool to further the Peace Corps’s mission of community development in Macedonia and not to watch back episodes of LOST. Inner Monologue: Do you think they bought that? I don’t care, at least my Matthew Fox obsession doesn’t cost them as much as the Tempe light rail did. Yikes.
So PST is over. Yep, I’m officially a sworn-in volunteer. I have moved on from the host family nest and now I am out on my own in a new town. I feel like at this point I should give you a few details about my new town/job/life. I have moved to Kumanovo, Macedonia which is to the East of the capital and very close to the Serbian border. Kumanovo is the second largest city in Macedonia and has a multi-ethnic population of a little over 100,000 including the surrounding villages. The city has its fair share of businesses and shops and my favorite place of all, an Irish Pub. Kumanovo was also the training site for all of the PCVs when we first landed here, so i am already a little familiar with the city.
My organization is called RCC DROM which is a community center for the Romani population here in Kumanovo. There are six people who regularly work there besides myself with many different backgrounds and skills. The organization has been in existence since 1997 and actively works on many projects to improve the living standards and social standing of the Romani community. Currently, the organization is focusing on programs within the criteria of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, which is a multi-lateral initiative between nine countries in Southeastern Europe to improve the lives of the Roma people. The priorities of the initiative are education, employment, health and housing. No small task.
I am not totally sure yet where I will fit into the organization or what my “job” will be. I can say that I was warmly welcomed and it seems like we are mutually enthusiastic about the future. So for now I am just trying to settle in to my new town and I am taking this time to learn as much as I can about the organization and the Roma people.