Animals and Plants
What is growing in Moldova?
Most of the country is flat undulating hill country that is largely treeless. Mainly grasses grow here, the landscape is a steppe. Large areas used to be forested, but trees were cut down for agriculture. However, there are still forests. They are called Codrii. Especially oaks and beeches grow here.
Which animals live in Moldova?
Many animal species also disappeared due to the deforestation of the forest. You can still find deer, wild boars, hares, foxes, wolves, weasels, polecats and lynxes. Rodents such as mice also occur. Lizards and snakes are reptiles that live in Moldova. Birds are found in most species.
Moldovan fruit, wine and sunflower seeds
The mild climate makes Moldova a country where fruit and wine grow well. In addition there is the very fertile black earth. Agriculture contributes 14 percent to the overall economy and 33 percent of the population work in this area.
However, the importance of agriculture has halved since independence. Important products for export are still sunflower seeds, apples, pears, quinces, apricots and corn. Wheat, barley and sugar beet are also grown.
Industry in Moldova
Industry contributes 20 percent to economic output. As in agriculture, the proportion has fallen sharply since independence, while the proportion of services has increased. For sales to other countries (export), the manufacture of clothing is particularly important, as well as wires and cables as well as hardware. Sugar beet is processed in the same way as rapeseed and sunflowers, from which oil is made.
Moldova – a poor country
Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. The unstable political situation with the breakaway region of Transnistria, corruption, economic pressure from Russia and few natural resources are some of the problems that the small country has to struggle with.
For many residents, sending money from relatives living abroad is vital. Around one million Moldovans work outside of their homeland. One fifth of Moldova’s residents are considered poor.
The poor house of Europe
As a country located in Europe detailed by payhelpcenter, Moldova is sometimes referred to as the poor house of Europe. Because in this small country a lot of people live in poverty. Around a quarter of the population has already emigrated in the hope of finding work abroad. Many leave their children behind (see also Children in Moldova).
Many of those who stay are unemployed. In many villages time seems to stand still. People struggle to survive in crooked houses. Some people don’t even have running water or flush toilets.
Living in Moldova
While small stone houses dominate the picture in the country, in the large city of Chișinău it is mainly prefabricated buildings in which people live. Many of them show signs of decay. Sidewalks are full of potholes, and country roads turn into mud slopes when it rains and snow.
Children and School
How is the school in Moldova?
In Moldova, children start school at the age of 6. They have a right to be taught in their mother tongue. Lessons in the Gagauzia region are held in Gagauz. In most parts of the country, however, Romanian is the language of instruction. The first foreign language for most children is French. Lessons start at the age of 8.
There are grades from 1 to 10. 10 is the best grade that can be achieved. To pass a test you have to get at least a 5. The primary school has four classes. Middle school is attended by students up to the 9th grade. Then compulsory schooling ends. Those who want to study have another three years ahead of them. With the Diploma de Bacalaureat you can then go to university.
Unfortunately, not all children in Moldova go to school. 9 out of 100 children do not attend school. Mostly these are children from very poor families. They help their parents or are sent to work.
How are the children in Moldova?
Poverty is a big problem in Moldova. Many children are sent to work by their parents. This affects 16 out of 100 children between the ages of five and 14. Many of these children then do not go to school and thus have no chance of education and perhaps one day a better life. Some children live on the streets and beg. There are also children who are sent to an orphanage by their parents because they simply can no longer look after them.
Others leave their children to go abroad to find work. Italy in particular is the destination of many of these adults. There they work as cleaning women, geriatric carers, construction workers or harvest workers. The children just go on living alone. They mostly take care of themselves, go fishing, bake bread or make cheese. A total of 120,000 abandoned children are believed to live in Moldova.
Most of the time, neighbors or relatives look at them at least from time to time, but some are completely on their own. After several years, the mother or father sometimes receives a residence permit and the children can then bring them to Italy. Until then, parents and children will keep in touch over the phone or now sometimes over the Internet. And the parents send parcels back home.
Eating in Moldova
What do you eat in Moldova?
Moldovan cuisine is very similar to that in Romania. Sheep cheese and corn are among the ingredients that are popular in both countries. However, bread is baked from wheat flour rather than corn. Many vegetables are on the shopping lists, such as eggplant, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers. Lentils and beans are often made into purees. Often the vegetables make up the largest part of the plate. But people also like to eat meat. It is mainly processed into ragouts or fried on the grill.
Everything made from corn
For example, corn is used to make porridge, soups and stews. A very popular side dish is Mamaliga. For this purpose, corn grits are cooked in boiling water and thus thicken into a solid paste. Maybe you know polenta from Italy, it is made in a similar way. You have to stir a lot so that the Mamaliga doesn’t burn. Do you want to cook Mamaliga yourself? Then take a look at our participation tip, there is a recipe there !
Mamaliga is eaten as a side dish, also sprinkled with sheep’s cheese or baked and served with sour cream. Children like to eat Mamaliga for breakfast or dinner simply poured with milk. If you shape the Mamaliga into balls, fill them with cheese and then grill them, the whole thing is called Cocoloși. They are happy to be served at parties.
Mititeji and Skordolja
Typical meat dishes are dumplings filled with giblets called drob, minced meatballs made from veal or pork, and sausages called mititeji. There are also sauces, but they are also used for vegetable dishes. Often you can find a brine with spices or garlic sauces like Skordolja, which is thickened with walnuts and white bread.
The Moldovans like to eat soups especially as starters. A distinction is made in Moldova between “soups”, which are clear and not sour, and chorbas, which have a sour taste. They contain, for example, lemon juice, sauerkraut juice or borș, which is made from fermented grain bran. Sometimes these soups are also called Borș themselves. Lovage usually belongs in the chorba as a spice. Ingredients are various types of vegetables and meat.