To all my Moldova BJJ enthusiasts, first of all thanks for all the good ideas. You have inspired me to ask around and try and do some networking based on peoples' ideas. I must apologize because this will be a long post and I know that long posts can be a pain in the ass to read but please bear with me.
First of all, I don't want to dissuade people who are super-busy and all they can do is donate gis or money. This is absolutely essential so just so you know, I totally understand and we can definitely use this kind of help.
I talked with the guy who runs the BJJ gym here in Bucharest (Tudor Mihaita, www.absoluto.ro) and he says he should be able to get a team of kids from a city near the Moldovan border to compete with our small upstart of a team in Burlacu.
For those of you wanting to donate gis, I will have an address to send them to in a little while. As far as money goes, I am still undecided. I think that there will be a good use for money but I don't know how much or how to get it here so I am still looking for good suggestions.
I can also almost guarantee that if/when we get gis, I can put them in a place in the village where they will be both accessable and free from thieves. I'm about 95% certain that I can either convince the gym teacher to keep them in his office or to buy a new lock for the "equipment room", and only give 2 keys away; one to the director of the school and the other to the gym teacher. They are both trustworthy people.
So just to make you guys aware of the situation involved with actually getting the gis to the kids, it's not so easy as just sending them to the village. First of all, you have to go through the right channels and have the right special stamps on certain papers to get "humanitarian aid" to the village. In other words, you can't just get a box full of equipment without any paperwork or proper bribes.
I think if we get the gis little-by-little to Romania first, the kids from Romania can take one or two of them in their travel bags and that way it won't look like there's a huge pile of illegal gis coming into the country.
I think that if we could get a maximum of 7 small (kids' size) gis and a maximum of 7 teenage/adult gis then we should be set.
As far as the prizes for the competition are concerned, I think that a nice (new, pimped-out) gi or maybe cash would be a good prize. And cash could be used to purchase a more traditional Moldovan prize like a sheep. This would definitely spark interest in the sport, not just in the village but in surrounding villages as well.
I REALLY like the idea of folks coming out every year to hold seminars and tournaments. This is an awesome plan I'd like to do anything I can to make it work.
I don't know any current PCVs in the region but I do know that my former boss can help me to network with anyone willing or capable of helping out. I think we should invite some PCVs to the competition (we should plan to hold it this summer) to maybe help people to get involved.
OK... that's enough from me... let's hear some more ideas!