Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A vision of things to come

7 years ago , along with our friends David and Jayne Schooler, we ventured into what I thought was the about the darkest place on earth.   The mens home was in such a state of disrepair, it was post Soviet and had not had any repairs for years .  The men were weak and lacked even the most basic food and clothing needs.    I left the home and vowed never to return .  A couple days later a sponsor contacted me and said they were sending some money and challenged me to go back and see what we can do. 
there has been a lot of water under the bridge since that day.  

Today I learned that this place, the place that was forgotten and neglected  is today voted the #1 home for disabled in Kyrgyzstan .  Step by step we have worked through Larisa to improve conditions for the men.  things like renovating all the halls and the bed rooms, sitting rooms in each section, fixing the water system, the heating system and replacing much of the electrical system.  creating an ICU unit to stop the spread of infection, painting inside and out, the creation of a physiotherapy wing with class rooms and music and craft rooms, and even a library .  Gardens complete with water fountain and benches.  A barber shop and washing facilities.. it is totally incredible all that has been done.  We are just so thankful for all the sponsors who have come on board to help us here.  
Today we came to the home to see the completion of the dinning hall .  This room was dark and dingy .  the walls and ceiling were peeling and flaking off, the windows were rotted out, the heating did not work, and the floor was rough and uneven and open cement .  Let me take you for a little tour today ...   

this is the dinning hall , newly painted and all new windows 

In side you can see the new floor, , lights ceiling , even curtains on the windows .even the chairs have been rebuilt and have all new seats on them .

Check out the raised platform and the wall ready by faith for a movie projector .  We envision one day a beautiful Kyrgyz pattern rug here along with a dozen long Tushuks ( mats ) that men can sit on to watch movies .The other thing we would like to do here is put new tops on the tables .. all together this would be about $1000. 

today we had a special gift from Andy at Give first, and Larissa received a top of the line power point projector .  Here I am showing her all the different methods of input.  

They were all so excited to see this 

From this angle you can see the heaters , the new lights and ceiling , new windows and curtains and the renovated chairs .. and finaly .. the new floor 

we spent a little time and visited some of the men in the class room

This is the wall way in the physiotherapy wing

This is the front  entrance hall even new lights here .. I look around and I am starting to see pride in  what they have happening here  .. an incredible transformation not only in the building , but in the hearts of all that call it home. 

All the way up the drive way and completely surrounding the building and the court yard there are now beautiful gardens, the greatest part is that I witnessed both residents and workers tending to the gardens .. Larisa has worked hard and faced a lot of opposition , but here she has created community .  Well done Larisa .. and well done , all those who have heard the stories and seen the photos, and have stepped up to make this home what it is today. 

After the home, Julie and Emma went with young Kolya to his school for a parent teacher interview .  It was about 10 minutes into the interview when they were talking about financial needs at the school and how the students had to bring in funds to help with renovations.. when Julie asked for some clarification, Kolya turned and translated for her .. at which point the teacher looked shocked and asked what language he spoke to his mother in .. She had no idea that Julie was not his mother and Emma was not his sister .. that will certainly give her something to ponder over the next few days .  hahaha

After lunch we met up with Vlady and headed for the mountains .  There is a family there that Vlady has been helping for many years.    Together they have raised bees , planted gardens and harvested fruit.  they live way up the mountain and have their own solar collector and wind mill for power .  with two little kids and a few extra, and one more eon the way any day ,  they continue to work hard at making a good home.   We are there today because they would like us to help them to find a investor in their farm.  We started a cow barn there in the spring, and we need  about $2000 for this project .  Here in Kyrgyzstan families will keep the mother cow home for the milk, and the calfs are sent to the mountain to be fattened up for the winter.  This could be the place to send them 
 Any one who is interested in investing in this great project I can guarantee 100% that you will get NO financial return on your money, In fact I can guarantee that you will get NO return of the initial investment .. just want to be clear about that ...  So whats the benefit ?    well the loan will be repaid, but will be repaid by boarding cows for us from the initial investment, $1000 will finish the barn and $1000 to purchase 6 calves in the spring, these calves will  grow up good and strong, then provide fresh meat all winter for the families , students and institutions we support. in the spring we can sell the last cow and buy 6 more caves for the next year.   This is a good family with a proven track record, and Vlady to over see it all ... a real recipe for success   The dream has been started , and when one of you catches the dream, we are just weeks away from completion.

mountain road to visit the cow barn project 

families of bees ..  In the house during supper our friend noticed that about half a dozen bees in the window, I watched in amazement as he went over and plucked them off the window with his fingers and put them carefully into his closed hand and took them out side .   after a few trips I asked why he did not get stung... the bees know him and trust him ... 

This is the beginning of the cow barn in the foreground and the house in the back 

This is a root cellar used to store the garlic they grow .. they will fetch a much higher price in the winter

this is the view back down the valley (from the outhouse )

cow barn from another view .. its about 12' by about 80' 

we had knitted dolls for the kids from seniors in Canada 

The kids loved Emma and Jengish 

this is Vlady out with the bees .. he says that he has a couple families that are not as strong and need a little help so he brings them a little extra food to help them out ... Families of bees he is referring to.

"If I had a million dollars " I could have easily spent about $3000 of it today .. but for now we have a vision of things to come .. and they are encouraging 

Tomorrow we will source out the shipping container and work on getting it to the hospital to be used as the structural base for the medical clinic we are building. As well we will  continue sourcing out astro turf for the baby orphanage playground . the place we had a quote from will only sell it in 2 m x 100 m rolls and we budgeted on 50 meters , so we are looking for it else where .. While in Bishkek , Emma also has some of her kids that she want s to check up on and make sure they are back to school OK. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

summers break is over... back to school

Last weekend was one more wedding celebration.  Most of Jengish's family lives in the Talas region, so last weekend his grand mothers arranged one more celebration.  The drive was hours through switch back and tunnels, across some of the most beautiful terrain in Central Asia  

 so many incredible sights along the way.. despite breaking down a couple hours from the final destination, the travel party did arrive on time for the celebrations .  

It was a wonderful time, and a great opportunity to learn more of the rich history of that region .

Yesterday was a holiday and for that reason , so was today.  But it was also first day of school for many of the kids we support.  
Today started off so encouraging, a young friend of ours from Canada contacted us and has arranged to provide monthly sponsorship for one of the kids we are helping.   we recognize that to make a difference here , it will take many committed sponsors.. today one more was added to the list ... so blessed. 
  So there was a lot of work , not just financial support , but a lot of advocacy for  kids who have no one else that seems to be pulling for them.  Some times we are not very popular but we never claimed to be here in a popularity contest , but are here as a voice for those who are not being heard.   In many cases we can do little more then challenge the powers that be to do the right thing, then step back and wait for that to happen.  such a difficult task . 

It was not all bad, we had the opportunity to help out 17 other kids today so that they could attend school , like our young friend here with Bekah that worked very hard all summer, and came up only $200 short of covering his tuition.  We were so blessed to be able to help him.  His goal is to finish school , get a good job and support orphans timing out of the orphanages work through the maze and financial restraints to attend collage or university .   A fine young man that I am sure will remember for years to come the impact that one of you sponsors made in his life today.  

Today was back to school for Baktagul as well , Like anyone returning to school she was a little apprehensive, but as the day arrived it was met with some excitement.  We got to see her in action yesterday.  Our babushka  neighbor came over to get her blood pressure taken .  Baktagul jumped right to it and got out her kit and was helped her out.  

 Today we had to go to the bazaar top get clothes for the kids from one of the orphanages, so Baktagul came along and  and got her nurses jacket, and some note books etc. 

after a couple more stops, including some more sponsorship stops and stops to pay the taxes, we went over to one of the orphanages to deliver the shirts for them .  The shirts sell regularly for about $8 to $12 each, but we have one of the young sellers that helps us out a lot.  We give him the list and he goes around the bazaar and finds what we need .. today he got us a dozen shirts for less then $5 each .   When we have the funds we will go back and get them the pants , we have a price of $6 a pair .. again more then half the regular price.  such a blessing ... It will be great when we can find a sponsor to help with this while the deal is still available.

As well as the shirts, we also paid for the first month of kindergarten for a couple of the kids as well as some paint and renovation supplies for the school for the older kids , part of the deal to get them to be aloud to go to school .  next we will work on note books for the kids .. this is about $10 a kid.  In total for the kids in the orphanage to attend school, it will cost about $75 each for the year.  and the two in kindergarten will be about $200 each .  

This evening we went to meet up with a family that we have been working with.  They are trying to get into a home before winter , and were excited to tell us that they had found a place and asked if we could come and talk for them to try to get the home at a price that they could afford.  

this room alone is about twice the size of the entire home that they are in now.

After seeing the house, we migrated out to the back yard and in the garden the negotiations began.  The owner is a nice man and we could tell he wanted to help, but financially things are tight for him as well .  The negotiations started at $17 000 US , and after about 45 minutes, the deal was struck and hands shaken  at $350 down and $50 a month for the next 7 months, then we would renegotiate in the spring .  This gives a winter home for our precious little family .

the kids were excited to see their new home 
Vlady was buy the house early today to bring us some more produce from the garden and to let us know that the foundation on the clinic was complete, and he was ready for the shipping container to be delivered .

Originally the plan was to have an exam room and a waiting room , but somewhere along the way the project has grown to include public washrooms and a procedure room as well as a sterilizing room .  We have agreed to break this down into two fazes and begin.  We will have the waiting room and the exam room open by this winter, then the rest we will call faze two and begin as soon as we have a funder in place .

Tomorrow we have another busy day , in the morning we are meeting Larisa at the mens home to check out the new floor , and bring her a projector so she can show movies to the men , then at noon Julie is going to a parent teacher interview with one of our kids, then in the afternoon we will head to the mountains with Vlady to discuss with a family looking for a micro loan for a cow barn so that they can board cows in the summer .   This is the same family that looks after all the bees, and the gardens .    A beautiful family, a beautiful location, and such a potential for them to prosper.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Critical needs

I think right from the time we started coming to Central Asia, we have had many people, and you may be one of them, that have give a donation, and then said , if there are any emergency's that arise, let us know and we can do more ?  

  I have always felt that there are so many needs that an open invitation to directly contact a sponsor could be a difficult habit to break so I have avoided it . 

   Today we are facing so many needs .. with back to school supplies for the orphanages,  the needs for more clothes for many of the kids , the scholarships, coal for winter heat, funds for food drops, medical treatments, and the list goes on.  

  A couple days ago I was in the bazaar , and so many people came to me with needs those I know and those that I don't know , I finally gave up and went and waited in the car for the others. 

  Just to cover the most basic needs with the orphans and seniors we are trying to help, we are around  $25 000 short.   We do have funds for a few large projects we are working on such as the Hospital waiting room and the men's home and the shelter for those who lost everything in the fire. The difficult part is people see we have funds for those areas, but do not understand designated funds and that we can't use those funds to help an orphaned  child go to school .

  I know that many of those who have donated in the past are very socially conscious,  and with the mess the world is in today I am sure you are all being pulled in so many different directions , I am sure that daily in the home front there are many things coming up .. tuition and back to school for your own kids,  or maybe dumping a bucket of water and making a donation for a worthwhile cause .. they are all important, 

This is not easy to be asking, but as Julie always points out to me ,We are a voice for those who would otherwise never be heard..  Please consider helping us at this time with an special donation so we can continue to bring Hope and dignity to those struggling in Kyrgyzstan and their critical needs . 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

school Uniforms needed

We have 14 orphans here that need uniforms so they can start school next week.  I am sure that once that need is met they will realize that the need some school supplies as well .  In total I think it will be around $40 each for this need .

If money comes in for this today, we will take them to the bazaar tomorrow so that they will be all set for Monday morning 

Friday, August 22, 2014

a request for sponsorship from Anya

One of out tasks today was helping our young friend Anya .  

We first met Anya at the Tokmok orphanage back in 2008.  The orphanage was closed some time ago, and Anya has had a bit of a bumpy ride.  Emma and Bekah have kept in regular contact with her and have been there to guide her through a few rough spots, and to advocate for her.  Today Anya  has it all together and is registered for University. 

She has done all the leg work and has been able to register into the teachers program for free.  She just needs to pay for her dorm and her food .  The dorm is $35  a month and her food will be about the same .

Bekah and Anya in her room with new sheets , blankets , towels pots and dishes and a bit of food to get her started .

We are working at securing a sponsor for her right now, Anya knows that she might have some help on the way , but she wanted to give a message to  possibly help some of the others in her position 


Anya with a student start up pack ..a pillow, an Aigula blanket, sheets and towels.  this costs about $40 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A special day at the seniors home, but "What about coal?"

Many of you will know of and even  own one of your own Aigoola blankets.  They are the best , they are warm and they are beautiful .  A real treasure for any one who owns one.  
Over the summer Blair Haverstock worked hard to raise the funds necessary to have one made for every senior at the seniors home.  He has seen how seen the blankets they had, and he knows how cold it gets here in the winter, and has has a burden to  do this for a long time.  Today that dream was realized when the Blankets were delivered to the seniors.

Aigola with all the blankets 
We loaded up two cars and headed out to Kemin to the seniors home .  Unfortunately Our car over heated as we were passing Iskra, so Bekah and Sergey continued with out us and we took the opportunity to go see Larisa and Tanya while the car cooled down. 

gathering seniors together to give them blanket 

what a blessing to have such beautiful blankets 

This is the first time I have seen the younger man on the right smile in the 4 years I have known him 

Thank you Blair and all those who helped him with this blessing to the seniors .

There was a second part to this trip.  The workers at the seniors home where told by the government that they needed to start wearing nurses uniforms.  This is expensive, and many of the workers are volunteers and can not afford uniforms.     
  Bekah and her friends at iam1ru.com took up the challenge to raise funds to get them each a uniform.   That need was met, but it gets better.  We found some nurses in the Peterborough area that heard about this need, and started collecting uniforms for us .. if fact they collected  over 100 uniforms so far.  all of them are like new and of the best quality.  So for the cost of buying just a few here in Kyrgyzstan, we were able to pay the shipping for all the uniforms ..  Today Bekah brought them out to the seniors home and every worker there was able to pick out two complete uniforms each, and we still have a suitcase full that we will be able to bless other health care workers with . Thank you Bekah , Thank you Possibilities International , and thank you Canadian nurses who all came together to make this extra blessing possible.

Tanya the seniors home director sorting uniforms 

more sorting
Bekah with the cook and her new uniform 

Bekah also brought a bag of vitamins with her today as well.. just a little extra blessing for them 

When all the excitement was over , Tanya took Bekah aside .  She was very concerned and apprehensive to ask , but she has a genuine concern ..finally she asked " WHAT ABOUT COAL?"

There is no other funding available for coal, and they rely on us to keep the heat on.  the home provides beds for 37 seniors right now, and in the winter time operated as a shelter for another dozen or so on emergency basis.  I have never heard of anyone being turned down for a warm bed, but to keep those beds open and warm, we need 20 tons of coal a winter . Thats just under $2000 .  That is a lot of money.  We recognise that, but we also see how important it is to keep all these seniors warm .    Unfortunately from this point on into the winter , the cost of coal will only increase and the availability will decrease ..  It may be over 100 degrees in the valley right now, but when we look to the mountains, we can already see the snow caps forming.   We need to act quickly .. there are so many others that will need our help with coal this winter , but lets start now with the seniors.  Thank you all so much for your on going support with this .