Monday, February 10, 2014

Labas, Readers! - New Public Affairs Intern Hits the Ground Running

Labas readers!  My name is Clay Moore and I am the spring 2014 intern for the public affairs section of the U.S. embassy here in Vilnius!  I am very happy to be here and am looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that await me here over the next few months.

My international background has been entirely in Russia, Moscow specifically.  I have never been to Western Europe (aside from a layover in Frankfurt), so it seems I am slowly making my way east to west, and, accordingly, learning about European cultures from a decidedly different angle than most Americans. 

I was very fortunate to be able to use my Russian language skills for a very worthy cause last week.  When the embassy staff learned that I spoke Russian, they asked me if I could accompany them to a soup kitchen to deliver foodstuffs, clothes, toys, and other needed items.  As the soup kitchen is primarily run by older women (who lived during Soviet times and learned Russian as children), it would be useful to have a Russian speaker be able to communicate and ask what else the kitchen needed and how we could help.

Almost the entire embassy showed up to help make lunch bags to deliver to the soup kitchen so that they may pass on the lunches to those who are unable to physically get to the kitchen.  We quickly got the bags ready, assembly-line style, and then we were ready to head out.

As you can see, we had quite the haul!

Embassy work is varied and oftentimes requires heavy lifting!

It was a great opportunity to dust off my Russian to use in a practical situation.  However, we did learn some unfortunate news.  The food bank at the kitchen was going to run out on February 1st.  Luckily, the embassy collected donations through a bake sale in order to purchase the needed rice, chicken and vegetables to last for a bit longer!

It was a very interesting end to my first week here!