Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today was one of the most difficult days this trip. It was one of those days that makes you appreciate everything that you have, and at the same time makes you wonder what you ever did to possibly deserve what you have... And we were not the only ones that had some emotional breakdowns, even our friends shed a few tears today. .
Now when we uploaded the photo's they came up in the wrong order so we will start at the end of the day and work backward... and As I have learned today... it really is not a big deal...

Our day ended with a visit to the village... as usual when we come to town, a party always breaks out.
David and Genette graced the crowd with a little singing ... they were excited to have someone in their village that spoke french,

I think the kids were just excited to eat candy....

But me , I was excited to spend time with young Arafat and his family... he is the young boy that we have been helping with his cleft pallet surgeries....

It was nice to go to the party, it was upbeat after visiting the invalid home. When we pulled in there, we saw some of the new mattresses out being aired out.. something they do when it is a nice day.... it's nice to see the new mattresses in the mix.
Inside we were brought to the latest room that we have been renovating... it is a dinning room on the floor of the ICU... until now, it had no chairs, rotted floors, the cement was crumbling on the walls, and there was no electricity, and no water and no heat....
Now the room is almost finished...

stove, sinks, hot water, heaters, electricity and lights.... and by next week, tables and chairs, dish racks with dishes and spoons, everything that will be needed for a cafeteria.

Even hand painted patterns are on the wall.... it is going to be an incredible room when it is finished.... the care givers are so excited as well... they say it will make there job so much easier, and more pleasant.... especially the hot water for cleaning.

before going there, we visited with some of the families that Laurisa supports with the help of iam1ru.... like this babushka that has lost her 5 children and her husband, and now supports 3 grand children... She shared how one of the kids needs to go to a special school because he is behind, but it will cost $25 a year, and he will have to stay with relatives in the city... the babushka did not know where she could find the $25, but she did manage to save some money that she could give the boy for spending money while he was living away for the next 8 months... she was happy to give him 5o som....$1.25....that's just over 15 cents a month....As I seek out more simple dreams, it is difficult for us to not just meet the needs right away.... rest assured, this is one of those dreams that was met immediately by the team.

This is the only heat source for Clava.. the old babushka in another apartment... and it is broken... it needs a new chimney... about $10 then she will not freeze this winter when they turn the heat off... I would love to add another $50 to that and buy her enough coal for the winter...

Here she is here greeting us when we arrived... she was so glad to see me again, and it was a blessing for us to spend time with her.
she lives just around the corner from a school where we visited more children that we support through Laurisa... We were also introduce to 3 more kids... the lost there mother last month because they could not afford the medication for her... it would have cost $5. It was so difficult to look at these kids and know that for the sake of $5 they have no mother... How much would be to much to take away that pain ?......That is the imposable question.... The one that only has one answer... it is a price that I can not pay!

At that school, they have 700 children and teachers, and the only washroom is this building ...

I have made a commitment to them to be back at the end of next week with a couple workers and put a new roof on, and bring them paint and paint brushes to spruce it up... This is going to cost about $250, and I am just about out of mad money... as you might have guessed by seeing the projects we have been working on... But what we really need to do is to raise about $1200 to build them a second washroom so that there is not the continual line up that they are facing now....

I guess the hardest part of today is that we started off at the dump... I am Canadian... I am not supposed to have friends that live in the dump.... at least that is what I thought, but now when we go to the dump, they all come over and are excited to see me again,. and what to know how my summer was and how my family is doing... all the things that you might ask a Friend that you have not seen for a while.... Yet how do I ask them about their summer... Do I say.. "Hay it is great to see that you are still alive".... or " I like what you guys have done with the place"instead conversation is " OH I see they are dumping in a different area now... does that make things easier or harder for you ?"... instead I focus on what I can .. I tell them that they are in my thoughts, and that even when I am not in KG, I do not stop thinking about them, and I encourage them to go to Laurisa when they are in special need, and we will continue to do what we can to help......
I say that, but as I walk away I almost feel ashamed that they are still there....sure I justify by telling myself that at least we are doing something...Besides our friends, there is no one else that ever visits them, ... well that's not true... one large Humanitarian aid group came once about 2 years ago and gave them each 1 kg of rice.....
These are the dark corners of society .... it is not a pretty place... I have no idea why it hit me so hard this time, but I am not alone... even our friends here recognise the desperation being faced ... winter is just around the corner, and as my friend Jayne put it..." No one is saying the words, but with every passing day, the people her move one day closer to sure pain suffering and for many death as the winter approaches"...
How many will die before I return ?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

trip to the big market

As a little treat, when ever we have a team with us we take a day and visit the capital, and that almost always includes a trip to the largest market in Central Asia... this is a very busy place and is easy to get lost and for a foreigner traveling alone, could be dangerous. For this reason, it is always all hands on deck, and all our friends come to make sure the teams are safe... I am always uncomfortable about this.. the teams have money and have a chance to spend it.. the rest of their time in country, every thing they buy is for others they are helping here, but on this day they are shopping for home... There can be some incredible deals to be found, and our friends have become masters at finding those deals for us.. but the part I am uncomfortable with is us spending money in front of them... I don't want to send the wrong message, or have them feel left out, so we try to make it a time of excitement and blessing for them as well.. I give each of them some spending money for the day... Today Anya was so excited... she came out of the market saying that she feels rich... she bought a large box of name brand laundry soap, and a package of white toilet paper.....
Think about that the next time you are feeling broke !

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another catch up post

Ok so in the last two days I have fallen about three days behind. so I will try to get some photos posted soon... but for now, here is what we have been up to. Yesterday was a slower day, a few under the weather, so we stayed around town, we went to the bazaar to do some over due back to school shopping, we also went to the family home for Thanks giving celebrations, then supper at Sergey and Anya's with a few other families.
This morning we started early... we began renovations on Eds apartment that we are living in... We are replacing some old drain and water pipes, as well as replacing two heat registers that are starting to leak, and adding one new one into the balcony we replaced last year... we are just so blessed to have this apartment here, and not a day goes by that we do not appreciate the generosity of our friend that provides it to us for free... it has become our home away from home... We have completed the heating system at Altynai's families apartment, the barn is finished in the village, we have just made arrangements to put a roof on a new barn at the rehab centre. We saw the new blankets we had Iagoola make for the bee hives, and came away with a few jars of honey... the 54 hives have split already and we now have over 70 hives that are producing an incredible amount of honey.... that project has already surpassed next years goals, and the cows have begun producing so much milk that they have had to get a milking machine... I am telling you... it is a land flowing with milk and honey... The children's centre will be ready to open by Thursday morning... The Seniors heating system is well under way, and Vlady tells me that others have begun to materialize to help with the renovations at the Baby hospital... Local business and hospitals are all chipping in.. Once again... when we start a project, things fall into place and others are inspired to do there part.
We delivered the down payment for the expansion on the community help centre in the village as well as we brought Vera a new bike so that she will be able to make her rounds to all the needy much easier. We even made a stop at the orphanage to deliver about 1200 lbs of oil, flower, and sugar as well as a few cases of grapes.... and Vlady also made the first delivery of potatoes to all the families and orphanages we support... There was 10 acres of potatoes, likely 4 or 5 tones this year... we order them in the spring so we can secure a good price, and so Vlady does not have to spend his days at the bazaar trying to sell them.
Let see what else... We have another small orphanage that we have not worked with before here in town... well actually I bought them shoes my last day here in the spring... Saturday morning I have an appointment with the government social worker to go to the bazaar and to help get them winter boots, as well as to try to find winter coats for them.
For some time now, Altynai has been very self conscious about her teeth... she has wanted then straitened, I kept assuring her that she has a beautiful smile, but now she has started having some difficulties as they are starting to cause gum problems, So today I sent her to the dentist... with out me as a cost saving measure.(I will go with her once the price has been established) ... I called her later today as we were still out of town.. she said that she had her appointment , but canceled the rest of the appointments because it would be to much money for braces, and that she could not justify us spending that much money for her... I said that we would talk when we got home... It turns out that she needs a couple cavities filled and 1 tooth pulled first, then two rounds of braces... the teeth fixed and pulled ... about $10 and each round of braces will cost $50 each.... can you imagine that ... $110 for complete orthodontic work... We can even pay that over time if we need to.... I have told her that she is right , it is a lot of money, and may not be high on the list of priorities if it was not a health issue, but now that it was, this is my problem not hers, and she will begin having the work done on Friday.
We also stoped over to see our friend Dr Tatyana. We have someone sponsor medicine for needy people, so we have given that to Her. She will keep track for us of where the money is spent, and give us updates of those families that have been helped. She has always been a great help to us, and now she will have some resources to continue to be a blessing to those she helps.
We still have one other big project that we will start focusing on next week, I will share more about that soon. but for now, I am heading for bed... the morning comes early... ... we have everyone come to the apartment every morning for coffee and breakfast and the days briefing before everyone goes to work... then we need to be on the road by 9:00 tomorrow... Ahhh just remembered something.... I forgot to stop at Laurisa's today to bring her more money for the invalid home renovations and the party in the village on Wednesday... I guess my day will start sooner then I was thinking... Good night.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Impacting a nation ... from the bottom up....

This afternoon was one of those times that you live for ... We picked up a bus load of orphans and headed for the capital. We brought them to the only arena in the country. They came in and saw a skating rink for the first time... They all knew about hockey and skating, but many never dreamed that they would ever get to go themselves. They were so excited that they were shaking... Even all our friends that came to help us with this event were excited .... in fact the one that I think was the most excited was the bus driver...lol...

We rented the ice for an hour... once they were all laced up, we opened the door and they began to file out onto the ice... it was like watching baby birds leave the nest for the first time... slowly they would start to move away from the boards, but before you know it they were all over the place.. but I must say that some never did get it figured out, but they ALL had fun... he had 32 people in all.

As I watched , I saw how great it is to have our friends there with their own families as well... It made the day change some how from an Orphanage outing to a family outing... it worked out that we had an average of 2 kids each which was great for an event like this.

After skating we went to a local hot spot restaurant.. It is likely the most popular and favorite restaurant for the locals, and judging by the cars in the parking lot, they are all considerably more affluent then I am ..But when we showed up with the kids, the waitress recognised me from a previous visit with kids, and right away cleared room for us together in the dinning room... Dave asked if I had reserved to get such a great spot... I said no... Just rearranged...

It was then that the most amazing thing happened ... The waitresses started helping with the kids.. they treated them with the greatest respect.. the even poured drinks and helped cut food... they were the best I have seen... i even noticed one child drop a fork and before she could pick it up, a waitress had moved in and replaced it with a new one..... now this may not seem strange to you, but you have to remember where we are... They had to have rearranged the orders in the kitchen as well because by the time they took the order for the last table , the food was ready for the first.....

When we were don, I paid the bill, and Dave gave the tip... I am not sure which was bigger... but I know that there were three waitresses that were almost crying, and were not able to hide their excitement... We told them how wonderful they were and thanked them for such fantastic service, but more importantly for the respect they showed the kids... there response was interesting... They said that they recognised us from a previous visit and they saw what we were doing , and wanted to be a part of making the day special for the kids, then thanked us not for the tip, but for caring for their kids.... I really think we are making a difference....

Here is a video of the night.....

video

House for sale.... Prod Ceer Doma

Do you remember these two girls I posted about earlier..? Today we had a little time in the morning before heading with the kids to the capital, so we decide to see what we could do to make a difference in their lives.... but first we had to be escorted by 4 police ... two in front and two in back, to the police station..... we dropped a few names and were on our way... another funny storey we will tell later, but for now back to the kids... These two little girls were dropped off at their Babushka's house 6 months ago, and the parents have left... possibly back to Russia... The babushka is doing all she can to provide for them and keep them out of the Orphanage, but most of her income is going into the rent for this one room..... There is no bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room, .... just this one room... I am standing just out side the door to get this much in ... that is how small life is for them..... It has been bothering me since we got here, but I think we have a solution.
We started checking the papers, but it is difficult to find an apartment for them to rent... people are afraid to rent to people with children and no jobs... I guess the same thing we might find in North America ... We then found this house... It has everything that they need, and exceedingly and abundantly more !.. It is on a very quiet street , about 250 Meters from the front gates of the best school in the village. it has water right in front and a large lot. It is the large side of a duplex, and it owns all the land on the side and the guardens and chicken coop in the back. The house is in very good shape, and would need nothing to move into it right away... even the roof and the foundation are in good shape and solid. It has 3 rooms, and a front porch, a chicken coop, two storage sheds, a summer kitchen/ sauna. and a good fence all around . Here are a few photo's ... as you look at them, just put your self into the place of these two Little girls, and imagine moving into a place like this....

This is a photo from the road.

This is the back of the house .. the yard is all planted with very nice gardens.

this is across the side yard


this is out the back and you can see the chicken coop here


this is the door into the porch


beside the porch there is a covered gardening bench

this is the kitchen room


It is heated with coal with this heater... it looked in very good working order.
It also has a large living room.
I was surprised to find a house with such a large yard tucked into the centre of town... Even Sergey did not know it was there... in fact it is so close to his apartment, if another building was not in the way he would have had a clear view into the back yard.
So what is the damage.. well with very little arm twisting and even though we are foreigners, we were able to get the price down to $4800. and Sergey is certain that if we went back with $4500. Two little girls and their Babushka would have a home to grow up in.
So now that we have done what we can do.. we will tell the storey and wait to see what happens....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hot Springs

This morning started with a trip over to the children's centre to put up some more lights, and to install a hot water heater for them... While Dave was doing that, we took a quick trip to the bazaar to pick up some supplies. ..... After lunch, we gathered up some of the families that we work with as well as a couple of the families that they support, and headed for the hot springs... it is about an hour drive up into the mountains... on some rather interesting roads...

After a long swim, we stoped along the river for a drink of water.. everyone was dehydrated from the hot water... We then brought out some candies and fish and bread we bought that morning.... smoked fish is always a real treat for them..... After our little break, they all slept all the way back to town. We called some others and the met us at the Yurts on the edge of town where we had a big feast of shashleek ( shish ka bobs )


















In a few hours we will be getting the morning paper, and then going looking for houses and apartments... we have a few families like the little girls and their Babushka that we need to find homes for .... then after lunch today we are taking one of the orphanages to the capital where they have built an arena... should be fun... first time on ice for these kids....





Thursday, September 24, 2009

time for a nap

So At this point, we have:

-a major renovation going on at the Baby hospital that our friend Vlady is over seeing ,

-we have a new roof going on the barn Toratt is building for the new animals..

-we have just doubled the size of Vera's community outreach centre / feeding program . in the village ... and renovations have begun..

-we have 80 more mattresses being made for two projects

-we have the new plumbing and have just about finished the wiring for the children's learning centre that Olga runs

-we have begun the renovation of the kitchen / dinning room at the invalid home

- we have started work on the heating system for the seniors home....

- we are putting a heating system in the apartment that was just purchased for Altynai and her family to live in..

-repairing some heating rads in The apartment we stay in here ,

- just put new tires on Sergey's van

and today we were in Bishkek to touch base with the Dr that is treating the Hydrocephalus babies... This one was a special blessing as this time when I visited the kids.. I did it with a HOPE in a better future, knowing that they will be receiving the needed surgery.


- we set up and confirmed future trips and outings for the orphanages and families we support, such as

-a trip to the hot springs

-skating in a real arena... complete with ice... not just a giant plastic cutting board

-a trip to the amusement park

- Golfing with some of the older kids

and a party with the village where we brought water to last year, and where Arophat lives ( the boy we did the cleft pallet surgery for...

-We even have a few other cool things in the making that I will post about soon....

Hummm now that I write it out, I see why we are a little tired .... I will try to get some photo's of the progress of each of these in the next couple days....

It is all going smoothly right now, but I think we will hold off on any other projects for a few days.. it is starting to look like a house of cards...lol... we have all the plates spinning right now... lets hope it stays that way.....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mattresses delivered

After sorting the bags we went to the hospital to start the projects there. The director was so pleased with the supplies we brought her. This project is officially a project that we are doing through the Mayors office, so we have Vlady working to make sure things are done as arranged, and he will disperse funds only as the project progresses...We have an agreement here with the Vise mayor... we will do the work, and he will wait until we are out of town before there is any press. We managed to get a very good deal from the contractor, so we have gone ahead and will be doing substantially more then we had originally planned.


When we were there we stoped in to see two of the newest babies .. It is heart breaking to see these kids and think that they have no family... I also looked around at the work ahead of us..and thought how many kids have come through these doors... so many people and organizations visit and support the orphanages and the seniors , but no one has seen what is behind those doors... no one helps, yet this is the place that the majority of the unwanted babies begin there long journey... don't get me started.... we just need to somehow make this right.....


From there we headed over to the storage container where we have been collecting up the mattresses from Aigoola... we met Laurisa there and loaded up to take a trip to the invalid home. We brought 30 mattresses this trip.


We Gave Dave and Genette a quick tour of the projects we have done there, and also saw the next room that they would like to do. It is a kitchen/dinning room... it definitely needs a lot of work... so we gave the go ahead and they will begin work tomorrow morning....


We then stopped in the village to visit all our friends there, as well as check up on Arofat... he was not home but lots were... we had a nice visit, and we will be heading back next Wednesday for a party.....

This next video is one of those little blessings that come along... one of the men from the invalid home is sharing from his heart....


video



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

brief update

We are getting ready to head back to the Baby hospital... we have a bunch of baby stuff and hospital stuff ... here we are trying to sort it all out ... Last night we had supper with Acel and family... I took that opportunity to give the kids sweaters that my mom ,Grammy Pammy , had made.... they were a big hit.

And of course she made her famous Bishbalback... from the Kyrgyz bord Bish meaning 5 and Balmack meaning fingers... it's because you eat with your 5 fingers...


We started working on the physiotherapy centre yesterday... the guys are busy here changing all the plumbing....

I also had opportunity to visit City Hall again.. I have graduated, and now I have been meeting with my friend and her boss the Vise Mayor... fun stuff... Later today, we will be delivering the first batch of mattresses to the invalid home....
While I was typing this, we closed the deal on the house attached to Vera's feeding program in the village... just in time.. she had out grown the existing building and were sitting outside.... so cool..... We got it for $4000... if anyone wants to help with this.... it would be fine with us ....lol...


Monday, September 21, 2009

The young and the Old

Today we made the rounds getting projects started..... and visiting old friends... and some new ones.... This is the new baby of one of the families we have been helping ... We stoped at Aigoola's house to order another 20 mattresses for a physiotherapy/help centre we will be opening in a few weeks. That makes over 100 mattresses ordered since we got here... I think it is almost time to consider expansion, but until then I thought I better sit down and help her catch up. or maybe not... Then we went out and took a look at the addition Torat is putting on the barn. He will be comming to town tomorrow, and we will buy him the materials for the roof.
There is a new addition to the farm .... Meet Benjamin.... Julies first born son.
Another stop today was out to the Seniors home to start the heating project there... The old folks were so happy to see us... apparently they knew I was in town and had been waiting for us to come. There are several new seniors living there now... We stoped to visit with them and Anya had a good TALK with one that was not in very good shape...
Tonight we went with Olga to take a look at what we will need to bring the center up to par before we open... Ruslan is assuring me that he can have this maze of old pipping and gas lines cleaned up in 1 day... I did not think you could do anything in a day here....
We also stoped at Vera's centre to take a look at future expansion possibilities ... they have out grown the present building, and the attached house has come available... We have decided to make a very low ball offer and see what happens... crazier things have happened.... Tomorrow we will be heading to the Hospital in the morning to get the renovations started there....