Here's the email I received from Robert McMasters, the former Peace Corps volunteer there who toured Christian around... I solicit your thoughts and suggestions... and thank you everyone who has so generously offered gis, rashies, money and time for this project! Let's keep the momentum going!
First of all, thanks for the interest in helping our guys out in the village. Getting new gear and other things to help further development in BJJ in rural Moldova is a great initiative. But I think what we're lacking most of all is a purpose. Getting material things is absolutely great but unless you have something to do with the material goods, there's a good chance that they will just sit in a dusty room most of the time.
When I was there I was able to control things, hold practices, work the bureaucracy and generally get things done. I don't think this is happening to the extent that it was when I was there. They lack a trainer and they lack... purpose. Why should they train in BJJ if they just compete against themselves?
I'm not really sure what you have in mind as far as gis (and obviously by seeing Christian's pictures you can see that we could use them) but I have a feeling that unless we have something that the kids will fight for, the gis will go largely unused unless there arises a need to train. It takes a hell of a lot of initiative to go and train BJJ when it is below freezing outside, and general fitness is not a good enough reason for a lot of people.
I suppose this is my chance to propose a series of different things, and maybe you have some ideas as well:
1) Take the money that could go toward new equipment, and set up a fund for people who want to come and train the team and to train other teams in the area to compete with. They would pay their own way out but I would take them to the various villages and we could train the competitors free of charge, eventually setting up the first rural submission/BJJ competition that has ever been done (can you think of another example because I can't).
2) Cut to the chase and hold a submissions tournament with a cash/material prize (even winning a nice new gi would be cool). This would give Burlacu the initiative to train on their own (with a little help of course). This would only be sustainable if we involved local business people/financiers who would hypothetically continue to fund these kind of competitions in the future. This could take work but I'm willing to try if others are as well.
3) Continue discussing the matter between ourselves and come up with a reasonable conclusion. There are a lot of particularities about the village that we could use to our advantage. There are also things holding us back as well...
Ok, enough of my writing. We will be in touch.