The above pics i took while on my 6km (4 miles) walk in my village...they don't do the colors justice though, unfortunately.
The 2 above pics were taken in a beautiful town called Vadul Lui Vodă last weekend during the healthE's annual "Sharing Experiences" get-away. As you can see, it's right on the River Nistru, which is the boarder between Transnistria and the rest of Moldova.
Transnistria is the Russian-occupied part of the country that still has strong Soviet beliefs. When Moldova declared their independence from the USSR in 1990, the Transnistrian War started between Russian-occupied Moldova and the rest of Moldova. In 1992 a cease-fire was announced, and it remains at that status today. So, although still technically a part of Moldova, Transnistria is basically a country itself and it is very difficult for trade or anything else to happen between Transnistrians and those outside of Transnistria. As A PCV, we've been warned that if we "find" ourselves in Transnistria and something bad happens to us there, Peace Corps does not have the authority to help get us out...kinda scary! And if you're wondering, like i did when they said "if you happen to just find yourself in Transnistria", how does someone just end up in Transnistria without knowing it??... well, it can happen, and pretty easily. When you don't know the language and you're at the mercy of whoever you happen to be in a car with, you might "end up" in Transnistria.
While i was in PST living with my host family, they took me to a birthday party. We all crammed into a car and started driving. I had no idea where we were going. We drove for about 2 hours. At one point i actually saw a sign that read "Transnistria" with an arrow pointing in the direction where it was, but we went the other direction. But that's how easily i could've just "found" myself in Transnistria! That's when that reality hit me!
A lot of non-Transnistrian families have family in Transnistria, and it's easier for a non-Transnistrian to enter into Transnistria than for a Transnistrian to leave it.
And as far as "if something bad happens to you if you find yourself in Transnistria and PC can't help you" goes, apparently there's a lot of anti-American sentiment in Transnistria, so it could be very likely that if we "found" ourselves there, that something "bad" could happen to us, and we'd be kinda stuck...at least from a PC standpoint.
Anyways...didn't really mean to go on a rant ;op