Moldovans have some ideas about health that seem, to Americans, to be very outdated.
One of the most amusing things we have encountered is that the Moldovans are afraid of wind getting in their ears because that is, of course, how a person gets sick. They would rather sweat to death in a hot car, house, or classroom than open a window. Many women wear scarves over their heads not out of religious modesty convictions, but because they tie the scarf over their ears and it keeps the wind out. And what happens if you do get wind in your ear? You draw it out by putting the mouth end of a lit cigarette in your ear… of course.
It was actually a team from our home church who rode, in the blazing July heat, in a van with no air conditioning from our northern camp to our central camp. The Moldovan who rode with them, knowing that the Americans would want the windows down, sat in the backseat with a winter coat and toboggan on, afraid of getting sick from the wind.
Moldovans also do not generally eat or drink cold things, and especially don’t give them to children, because they believe it will make them sick. If they get some juice out of the fridge for a child, they will warm it up in the microwave. At camp, there is a night where they give out ice cream, and we are told that one mother asked her kids to be sure and let it warm up before they ate it.
Children here are generally dressed very warmly. The first few times we took Jude to the market, it was very hot and we had him in his usual t-shirt, shorts, and no shoes. It seemed like half of the people there stopped us and would talk to us in Romanian, motioning toward Jude. I don’t know what they were saying, but I’m pretty sure it was something along the lines of, “Your kid is going to die because you don’t have enough clothes on him.” Similarly, Josh has been chastised twice already in grocery stores for getting Jude too close to the refrigerator section. Josh summed it up well when I mentioned needing to get Jude some warm winter clothes and he said, “I don’t think there is much of a difference between warm winter clothes and warm summer clothes for babies here.”