Peace Corps Writers
Unforgettable Faces (page 2)
Unforgettable Faces
page 1
page 2

     Or the elderly farmer I encountered last summer during an outdoor competition in the rugged area of north-central Romania. Our team stopped mountain biking for a water break, but we also were discussing the map and directions. Though all of us speak enough Romanian, we were in the middle of an ethnic Hungarian area where many of the people speak little or no Romanian. I decided to go up to the man laboring by hand in his small plot. His wrinkly face flashed a smile, exposing only a few teeth, when I greeted him. I shook his rough and dirty hand. We managed through basic Romanian, to get the directions clear enough. He said we were crazy to try to bike in this terrain, advising us instead to flag down a truck (tempting, but we didn’t). When I thanked him and waved good-bye, this humble peasant took off his hat and bowed, wishing our team a good journey. Money doesn’t buy class, as they say.

     And how about Adrian, or Adi, to his friends, one of the high school students I taught last year. This big young man, elected president of the student company I was advising, is a leader among his peers. Thousands of young-generation Romanians have become quite adept at computer skills (national news proudly described one Bucharest firm that sold its anti-virus program to Microsoft) — including Adi. While many Romanians aren’t so good at follow-throughs and meeting deadlines, this kid is on top of his game. He develops and designs web sites and other work for clients in his spare time, sometimes staying up all-night to finish jobs — all in the confines of internet cafes! Some months he earns three times more than the national average of $100. His economics teacher once told me how tired Adi is from sleepless nights. Indeed, his intense face looks a bit older than he is — many Romanians do, due to the overall environment here, the constant worries — but the way he struts and smiles after learning something new, or doing a good job, is refreshing and terrific. He also told me that he wants to do business in Romania. If he does, he will not contribute to the serious problem of “brain drain,” the steady exodus of bright, young people to the United States, European Union and other places. I have no doubt that Adi will succeed. You can see it in his face.
     It would be nice to have photos of the special faces I’ve encountered over the years. In a few cases, I do. But it’s OK. They’re all in my head.
Before joining the Peace Corps, Andy Trincia was a corporate communications executive in the financial services industry. Sworn in on August 16, 2002, he is working at the West University of Timisoara, as a business consultant for the Center for Career Development, and is also teaching courses. We have asked Andy to file reports for his two years of service of what his life is like working and living in Romania. He will finish his Peace Corps tour in July 2004.
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