Serghei is a friend of mine who is one of the pastors at Kishinev Bible Church and is also the dean of students at Moldova Bible Seminary. He was also one of my students four years ago. He called me Saturday morning to see if I wanted to go down town to do some shopping.
While we were walking down the sidewalk, we saw this woman begging. Usually people just stand on the street and beg, but this woman was going all out. Serghei explained to me that she was probably working for someone. It seems that beggars have defined territories and a hierarchy of sorts. One beggar often works for another. If a beggar is working in someone else’s territory, the one who “owns” the territory will either kick them out, let them work there for a percentage of their donations or let them work all day and then kick them out… after they have taken all of the money.
The gap between the rich and the poor is growing here in Moldova. Clothes are often times more expensive than in the US and rent is outrageous. Most people who are moving to Kishinev from the villages move in with other family members who have previously moved here or rent single rooms from other people who have their own apartments.