Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Burning Concrete ?

First stop of the day... after paying the power, water and phone bills ... was to head out to the village to see Aigoola... She had another batch of blankets ready for us.. so we loaded up the van...


Torat had brought her sewing machine into town yesterday to have it repaired.. it had stopped working properly.. so we had brought it with us to the city to get it repaired under warranty... On the way in we discussed how she was starting to get more orders from in country, and we are going to help her expand that part of the business so that soon she will be self sufficient... We discussed that maybe it was time to get a second machine.. especially if this one was getting so much use, and as well Aiperie was home on weekends to work as well.. Well we got into the sewing shop, and the man took one look at the machine, looked up and said .." Man have you ever used this alot!... what are you doing .. running a business...?" he then asked what we were sewing... when we told him mattresses and blankets, he just shook his head... he then said " This is what you need" and he brought us over to a commercial machine that they use in the sewing factories... it was a very nice sewing machine, good and solid... for then next few minutes, the conversation got faster and faster and louder and louder... then all of a sudden "SUOW" ... which means Finished... I asked what has just happened here... they told me that not only did we get the commercial machine for only $20 more then a regular sewing machine, we got the table and everything.. even the over sized motor and special foot for sewing think mattresses and even leather.... So I guess it was a done deal... Anya sat at the machine and stepped on the petal and fired the piece of cloth across the room... man is this think fast....

We brought it out and set it all up for Aigoola... she was very excited.. but she is always so reserved that it is hard to tell what she is thinking... but there was no trouble knowing what Apiry was thinking when she saw it... sew was excited enough for the village... it turns out that it is the same machine that she has been trained on at her sewing school... she loves it... then as things have started to settle in , the phone keeps ringing from Aigoola to say how much she loves it, and how much faster and easier it is then the other one... We laughed and said that one day she will have a big factory with 20 of these sewing machines working... Tomorrow when she comes to town for material, we are going to be pricing out what it would cost to rent a small container at the bazaar... we have 3 orphanages, an invalid home and several families that we work with, not to mention honey , mattresses and blankets that we are pedaling around the valley... we have been doing a bit of the math, and think that we could set up a consignment shop and have enough stuff to fill the shop with out any trouble... Not only that, but we may be able to employ a couple people to look after the shop... we will crunch the numbers tomorrow and see if we can make this happen... This will not only give them an outlet to sell there things, but it will give a place that people can go to purchase traditional crafts with out having to drive to the capital...

From there we went to see Vera to have a meeting with her.. we learned that she had a need for blankets for the kids program that she has there, as well as for some of her families... and we just happened to have a Van full of blankets....

When we got to the seniors home we met with the director ... I knew through the grape vine that they were having difficulties with the fire martial... he is concerned that if this all concrete building was to catch fire, the seniors would have a hard time getting out... basically the same thing we faced at the orphanage a few months ago... The director is new to all this, and does not know how to do the dance.... In fact I think that she just aggravated the situation, and the fire martial was ready to shut the home down.... So Anya and I went to meat with the Fire martial... When he saw me he said that he had heard of us, and knew that we cared for the seniors and orphans... he also recognised that we had helped with the extinguishers at the orphanage... he then thanked us so much for helping... I shared with him that we were not interested in a big fancy building, but that it was very important to us that those we are helping are warm, have food, and are safe... I then thanked him for his part in looking after the people in this end of the valley... We told him that we can see he does a very good job and thanked him so much... this was easy for me to say because it is a very truthful statement... in fact in all my years here I have never seen one of these big concrete buildings burn down, so he must be doing a good job... of course most of that was the inside of my head voice.... but in the end, we walked away with 6 fire extinguishers , a letter saying that everything was inspected and good, every one happy , the seniors home still open, and he has agreed to put the order for central system smoke detectors for the orphanage and seniors home on hold for another year until they are able to find the money to put them in....
I don't know about you, But something happens to me when I get a fire extinguisher in my hand... Oh I just want to pull that trigger so bad !... Anya was relieved I refrained.....

Another trip to the dentist

Yesterday we left the house early for a long day...

Our first stop was to visit the director of the hospital / orphanage that our young friend had been moved to .. we wanted to make sure that they knew that there were people monitoring his care... he was a lot better today... not so sedated...

Next stop was to the orphanage to see our your friend Amir.. as well as to set up English classes there for he and his friends... we do not want to single him out in the group so we have 5 other kids that will be in his class... it turns out that the directors daughter would like to come to one of Emma's classes as well... Emma will also do an art Class there as well.
She has her first class this Friday at 2:30... While there we incuired about a young girl that the director had called about... She is turning 16 and will be moving off to school soon, and she has some serious teeth problems and the director wanted to get her helped before she is out of the system... this may be her last opportunity.. So we brought her with us for the day, and tried to make a fun day of it for her... she had her first visit to the dentist, and had x-rays, and will begin the procedures on Monday... what ever that may be... but she is so happy... our next stop was to a restaurant... A first for her.. she had never eaten in one before.. in fact she had only ever been to the city twice in her life... at times she was a little overwhelmed as we traveled around running arronds.. into the bazaars and shops... but it sure was exciting for her..
We then met up with the team from LAMb to order bunk beds for a home make over they are working on... it just seemed so natural.. standing on the side of a road on the edge of a crowded market , talking to SOME MAN... that's right, ... we found "THE MAN" and making arrangements to have bunk beds made ... noticing that this might not be the most normal thing, asked them if this is what they would expect when buying furnature.. they laughed and said that in one day they have come to realize that nothing will be what they would expect is normal here...hahaha.... yet in all it's appeared confusion... some how it all comes together , and many times with better results then I have come to expect in Canada ... Just don't ask how !


Monday, March 29, 2010

Because we care...

So for the last few days it has been cold and snowing ... We for the most part are just trying to ignore the fact.. We put on a couple blankets and pretend we are warm... I looked across at Emma last night as she was sitting writing, and she was shivering... we then got a call inviting us over for hot chocolate at Lynn and Ruby's apartment... When we got there we found that they had just given in and bought a space heater... it was so nice ... within about 5 minutes, Aiperi had fallen asleep in front of it... Well Mr cheep just gave in and went to the Bazaar and bout one for Emma..

It was $12.50.. Now my dear Emma will not need to where mits when she sits here at night...


We have made our schedule for the next week... tomorrow we will be visiting 2 orphanages... one to see about our young friend Izat and make sure that he gets looked after right, and the other to set up a teaching schedule for Emma to teach English there... one of the children that will be in her class is my young friend that I visit every time I am here... We want him to be ready for when he joins his forever family... The timing worked out well... this orphanage has a new director now that I had not met, and she just called Sergey to say that she had a young girl that needed to go to a dentist and could we help... so this is a perfect start to this relationship as we will be able to meet that need.


At the other orphanage, we are continuing to find very serious problems with the kids teeth... way more then we had anticipated... We have discused with Sergey and Anya, and have decided that we will use some of the sponsorship money that we had earmarked for new clothes and make sure we get ahead of the situation... we will then get some help, and go to the orphanage and help them to go through the clothes that they do have and try to mend some of the clothes, and bring shoes to the shoe maker at the invalid home to get them repaired...We really would like to do both, but right now we have a somewhat serious health issue that needs to be addressed.... We are also going to look closely to see what may be missing from the diets of these kids that they are so bad...


For the first round, we are having all the kids checked, just the teeth that are hurting fixed in the first wave, then a list of what each child needs to have and the associated price... we will then take the last and a hand full of the kids to another dentist to have them checked to compare the results... just in case there is some funny business , but from what we have seen ourselves, I think it is all on the up and up... but it is best to be safe...


I must say that I am a little disappointed.. I am the guy that comes and gets the kids to do fun things... I want that when they look back over the years they will remember all the great times we had together... this year, I am afraid that all they will remember is root canals !... well maybe in time they will understand that it is because we care....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

They are Off...

Well they are off safe and sound.  Jody's flight left 15 minutes before Julie and Bekah's , so they got to have one last tea together in the airport before heading on the long journey home....
 
 No trip to the airport is with out a little bit of excitement... it was a very bad snow storm last night, and the driving was slow.. trees down and everything on our way back from the airport.. the usual 1 1/2 hour trip was pushing 3 hours.. then we got a call that the van on the way to the airport to pick up the team our friends have comming in had broken down.  So Emma and I hoped out, and grabed a taxi the rest of the way, and poor Isar turned around and went to the rescue... ..
 
I just got word that they have arrived here in town safe and sound, and with all that were only 40 minutes delayed... Emma and I grabed a quick nap, and are now up and on our way with Sergey and anya to see the family...

So while I was banished to the bed room, the ladies had a great time in the living room...They loved the Hot Chocolate.. something that they can not get here.....



We had opportunity to encourage them... Jody was able to really connect with them all in a special way


Ainura was here today as well... This was nice for the girls... they were so happy to see her . For those who do not remember her, she is the young lady that was loosing her sight, and thought that she was going to be blind with in a month... We made arrangements to have her operated on, and were able to save her eye sight... After the rest of the ladies went home, we talked to her about having her eye's checked and new glasses... it has been 2 years now.. she was so happy... she says that she was so thankful for our help that she was afraid to say anything...



Tonight we gathered all our workers and took them out for supper at a nice restaurant.. They were all so blessed ... We started off by welcoming everyone, then we did something that was really special.. Jody had brought with here some beautiful cards that were copies of paintings of her moms.. She had friends of hers in Canada write letters of encouragement in each card... We went through the cards, and matched up the letters with those that they would suit the most. We then added a small paper gift into each card...



Jody , Julie, and I took turns handing out the cards and giving a public encouragement to each of them... we shared with everyone what there special traits were , and what makes them so valuable to the team... What was really neat was that when Julie said that the next card was for our driver Isar, Everyone started to clap and stand up... they were all so blessed that he is included and all have been recipients of his willingness to work hard and his desire to help..


By the end of the night, the music was getting pretty loud, but we all had a great time... This was a wonderful way for The girls to say god buy to our friends..

video

It started snowing tonight here, so it looks like we will head to the airport at 1:30 rather then 2 am.... Lovely!

womens party

If you wonder why sudenly  I am able to get cought up on my blogging, it is because I have been banished to my room !... Today we are having a special day for many of the women here that are friends of Acel's... last year when we were her, it was the first time that they had a day that was just for them... It is common for the Russian ladies to get together more, but for the traditional Kyrgyz women, this is an incredible treat.   So today started off with a breakfast meating with Sergey and Anya, then it was poff to the bazzar to pick up food packets and small presemnts for the women.. Many of them come from very poor homes, food is almost considered a luxary.. I am hearing that the average family here is now spending as much as 90% of their income on food, and at that they are eating less then half of what they did say 10 years ago... so a small food packet is the greatest way to let them know that we care...
 
the party started at 12:00 at the resteraunt... while they were there, I got the appartment ready... and made tea, hot chocolate and coffee for them as well as set out cakes, cookies, and candies.. then after lunch, they all came back to the appartment where it would be a little more personal then talking in a public building.. so they have arrived here, and I am now banished... I am on the corner of the bed... that is piled high with food packages for them all... next, I think I am going to sleep.... tonight we have a dinner party planed with all our workers here on the ground... then Julie, Bekah and Jody head for the airport at 2:00 am... then maybe I will take a day or two off...NOT..hahahaha

Stepping into a once glorious past

We had a real privilage last night .. We went with Vera to visit a special village.. This village only about 40 years ago was one of the jewels of Kyrgyzstan.. it iwas a mountan village of just over 5000 people .. it had three large factories, and was a real cultural centre.. As we drove through the abandoned streats we found the ruins of a grand opera house, schools hospitals librarys and many other one time beautiful luxurious buildingd.. It was starnge to see evedince of a one time healthy infistructure water pipes, sewers... all nestled into a gorgious vally with a huge park running through the centre of town....
Today, there are about 30 families that calll this place home... the all that stands of many of the ornate buildings and hotes are the fancey stair cases and the odd statue of Lennon appearing out of the rubble...
We gathered the village together.. about 100 people in the village now.. We had tea, and a Banana party with them... As many of them experienced this strange friut for what I am sure for many would be the first time, we listened to their stories about life in this remote place...We learned that the bus rout ended a few years back, and now the can not even get a Taxi that whants to make the 15 minute mountain drive from the neighboring village...
We were amazed that 10 of the children make that walk every day to attend school.. As well many come to Vera's out reaqch centre for help from time to time... After we got to the top of the valley and had a chance to talk to Vera... I learned that she comes to this village every week to help them... I asked her how she got there... Happly she repplied... Last fall your team bought me a bike!... OK that explains how she gets home, but there is no way she is able to bike up that hill... If any one needs a Van, this lady does... if it were not for that big pond.. I would give her mine!

Lots happening at the invalid home

There is a new director at the invalid home, and he is really working to make things better for the men there.  We have had a good talk with him, and he and Laurisa are imbarking on the largest project there yet... We are so thrilled to be a part of this...
 
The director had agreed to give Laurisa one entire wing of the home on the ground floor... I have taken teams into this section in the past, and it has been there brealing point .. it was so bad that I could not even begin to describ it, and if I could I would not because I would not want to offend... some things are best left un said.... This wing was one of those... So you ask why we would be so excited about this...?... In the masters hands, all things can turn pure as gold... and Laurisa is a fine representative of the master... This wing will house the new library, the craft room, the phyotherapy room, the excercise room, the music room, as well as a sewing room, a shoe repair shop, as well as a meeting room for laurisa when she is there... We started by helping cover off the cost of some of the materials that they had started the project with... paint, cement / plaster...
Then we purchased all the flooring for the entire wing... of cource we were no were to be seen when Laurisa worked her magic and got the most incredible price... The men are all buisy with the repares and renovations... they even were able to get curtains.. This section has been biuilt on faith,   By the end of the week, the entire section will be compleated and ready to start setting up each room.... We have everything for the craft room, so they will start there, and as we are able to find suport for her we will be able to continue the work... I love that they now have a vision... they have Hope.. and despite the situation the men have been given back some dignity... So far to go, but you can see that it is possible... We even have a little girl in America who is having a birthday tomorrow, and she had seen the post a while back about the old rusty cups the men are using.. she is now raising funds for us to purchase new cups... I now have a start on that with 100 brand new cups in our appartment right now to give to Laurisa when we see her tonight.  
  As hopefull as things are for them, I do still battle a little in myself... I keep hearing them telll us things like... " Thank you so much... we can not thank you enough... because you came, we are still alive"... some times I wonder if that is doing them a favor....I can only hope that as they continue to improve,  that one day they will reach a place that they will truly have a peace and a joy return ....if not for the first time in their lives... Some times things we see are just difficult to make sence of.. They told me that when I am not here they try to think of what they could ever do as a gift for me... I told them that the greatest thing that they could do for me is to share with others the way that we have shared with them... to love and to care for those around them that are strugling... and together.. we will see a greater future... That would make me very happy!

Sewing school

Aiperie attends a sewing school here in the town, just around the corner from our appartment. She is doing very well, and in fact she is the leader of her group at the school... this is a group of about 30 students.  We run into them time to time in town, as they are so close... This started the questions for Aiperie... who are they, why are they here , and how do you know them... when they heard that we were from Canada , they were facinated, and had so many questions for her... It gave her an oppertunity to open up to them and to share her past.. They could not believe that she was from an orphanage.. they thought that she always had a good life, and thought that the reason she was always happy was that she never had bad things in her life... She had opertunity to share with them some of the many stories that she should not be able to tell at such a young age... She then told them that maybe some of their questios they should ask as themselves... So we arranged for a dinner party for them at a local resteraunt.
 
 Many of these girls are from very remote vilages, and have been sent to town for an education and to experience the out side world.. they have come from very restricted lives... I remember last fall when I was introduced to one of them, I asked how she liked coming to town for school... she just started to cry.. she said that she was so overwhelmed .. she did not know any one, and she came from a village where they did not even have cars.. and this was just to much for her... she said that she went home, but her parents made her com back... I had an opertunity to speak with her and  let her know that things would be oK , and that she had a good friend in Aiperie and she would be there to help her.... I was glad to see this girl  at the party, and she was just beeming when she saw me ... she says that she now loves her new life.
 
   They entire night , the kids were full of questions... We started off with a small gift of hand made teddy bears for them in little stuff sacks that included  a tooth brush, tooth past, soap , and shampoo ... once we had all ordered ( I am sure for some it was the first time for them to order there own meal ) we took turns standing up and telling good thngs about the person to our left as we introduced them... They were scared at first, but by the time we got around, they had all opened up... Altynai did a fantastic job translating for us in three different languages.. Loud clear and full of confidence... that in itself was a blessing for us to see...
 
  After the meal came, we were all GRILLED by them for about an hour... so many questions... it was such a fun night... Now they will be sure to be watching for Emma as she passes their school each day on her way to teach...  

Friday, March 26, 2010

An afternoon at the park

Every year we celebrate Aiperies birthday by taking her family on an outing ... This year we went to the park in town, then to the Bazzar to buy them summer shoes, then thay all came back to the appartment for a sleep over and watch movies... It is so nice to see Aigoola, the mother able to smile again.. not just smile when something wonderful is hapening , but there is a real contentment and happiness...... She shared with us her past, that night, and I can assure you that it has been a very long tme since she has had this peace.... This s tryly a lfe restored in every sence of the word.... Tonight we will be havng a dnner party for all the workers we partener with here .... she will be attending that ... not as someone that we suport , but as a person who s now an important part of  what we do here... truly a blessing
 

Croceries for the new rehab centre

I Just want to start this post by saying that we are having dificulties with Blogger.. it does not work until about 10:00 pm... and by that time, I Just don't seem to have any energy left... I can email into the blog to be automaticly posted, but the letters are black and so is the background ... I will try sending this post in white letters... but then I have a hard time reading what I am writing..hahaa...
 
One of our friends here in Tokmok has just opened a rehab centre... one thing that there is no shortage of is people needing help with adictions.  When doing a needs assesment when we first got here , Sergey shared with us that this centre was now open, but they did not have a lot of financial suport, and were having a difficult time feeding everyone.  We decided to contact them and take them shopping for a few supplies... we called the night before to speak to the director.. He was very happy to here we were going to help... what we found out the next day is that only minutes before we had called, the director had been on the phone trying to find help because he had just run out of food.... That will not be a concern for them for some time ! we took them on a power shop... I have found out that Jody's greatest spiratule gift ...is shopping.... I have included a photo of an old lady at the bazar.... ust because we thought she looked so interesting... I would love to here her storey.

Happy Babushka

video

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Number ONE dream !

During our visit to the Kemin seniors home we had the opportunity to bring gifts for each of the people living in this home. Some of our friends from Canada have been knitting and crocheting up a storm and we dropped off beautiful blankets for the beds and also some lap blankets. For some time now we have been taking orphans shopping for new clothes and we thought that it would be nice for these seniors to have something new as well. We asked the director what she thought would be best and she said sports suits for the men and sweaters for the ladies. Of course socks, underwear and slippers/shoes were on the list as well. We were able to purchase the sports suits for the men and sweaters for the women and a pair of socks for each of them.

One of the babushka's has touched our hearts with her animated personality and she seems to speak for all of the seniors with a smile or tears. We had a special gift for Anna - a new head scarf. We could not have known when we were planning this small gift for her that it would have been such a blessing for her. Through our translator we disovered that Anna had a number one dream - a new, clean head scarf. When she received this small gift she was so excited she immediately removed her old scarf to show us how dirty it was and also full of holes. She kept telling us that this was her number one dream. Since that moment I have been thinking about what my number one dream might be. What could you do for me that would bring tears to my eyes and cause me to exclaim 'this is my number one dream, did my god tell you about this?'. Hmmm, my number one dream . . .

Off to the dentist

One of the things that we were looking forward to this trip was to get all our kids to the dentist... The dentist is so cheep here compared to North America. We had in mind to get about 40 kids this trip. Now if you were to bring 40 kids from Canada you might expect about 60 or 70 cavities, I figured that here we might have closer to about 100 or 150, but we never expected what we have found... For example in the first 5 kids, we will need about 40 teeth fixed ... including 9 rout canals and one poor girl needs to have her front eight teeth Canalled and capped , along with extensive repairs to her molars.. The cost for her alone will be about $300 if we use the brass teeth... and will be $400 if we do the white ceramic teeth. Galbarche was surprised that she needs 4 teeth fixed ... she says that only two of them were really hurting her...
We will have to rearrange some finances here to see what we can do... It's great to bring them on outings , but we are finding serious health issues that are resulting from this...We are responsible for what we know, and now that we know..we will have to see this through. On the bright side.... Hummmmm Ok so I am having a hard time finishing that statement... maybe you can for me.!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Roller coaster of emotions

We had a great day today... we started off with a nice breakfast at the guest house in the capital... We are looked after so well by the owner there .. she is always so happy to see us . We gave her a couple of the blankets that Aigoola made, not only was it a nice present for her , but may lead to some orders when others see how nice they are.
Our first stop was to Swetly poot orphanage to pick up some Kyrgyz crafts.. They were pretty happy to see us. They have been busy making lots of new crafts, but not many people have been there to buy anything for them. They remembered me as the man that came in last fall with the computer and had a lady in America buy everything they had... so they were pretty happy when we cleaned them out again... We then went over to a coffee shop the excuse was that it has a very nice gift shop attached and has a lot of traffic through... we have the idea of getting space in the shop where we could put the stuff from the orphanage on consignment. But yes the coffee was GOOD.... From there , Emma and Bekah went off with Altynai to meat one of Altynais teachers at an event for youth.
After coffee we went to a Chinese restaurants were we met up with our friend Kyle and his wife.. It was great to see them again and have a little visit with them.. We traded some projects for each other to work on, then did a little shopping for one of the orphanages on the way home
The girls took a taxi over to meat up with us. We loaded up the grocery cart with a massive amount of milk and cheese. I don't know who was happier, the kids at the orphanage or the lady at the store. We went around giving out cheese to the kids. This orphanage is one that the kids go to when they are having physical behavioral or emotional issues... As we went into the last room, there was Isat... one of our kids... we were so happy to see him , then suddenly we realized that he was not all there..it was obvious to us that he has been medicated... we all just felt like crying .. Anya was seeing red .. This is not where we thought he was or where he should be... Isar had a special relationship with him from all the time we spent with him at the orphanage, so we went out and brought him in for a visit... he was just as disturbed as us. Anya and I will go back next week.. when the holidays are over, and talk to the director to make sure that they get his med's balanced out... But I must say, it sure put a damper on things for us when we saw him there... Now we are home again, and have half an hour to get ready for supper.. we are invited out.. we will try to put this a side for now, put on our happy faces, and go out and have a good night....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A day with some of our kids

I will have to catch up on yesterday another time, but I will try to get today's post out now while the Internet is up...
Last night we went to visit the kids from the orphanage that moved last winter.. they were so happy to see us. We started the visit with having the kids we knew introduce the new kids we had not met before... the were to tell us their names ans something good about their new friend. It really started the weekend off on a positive note..
This morning we were with the kids when they received their Samaritans purse boxes.. this is the first time Jody had been here for that, so it was a special blessing for her to watch the kids...
These are three of the kids that we sponsor for English classes ... they are now speaking clearly and able to carry on a conversation with us... I just love when we are able to suddenly start communicating without a translator....

We took all the kids to a huge arcade were they had a 4D movie theater... they were sooooo thrilled ... I just don't have the words....


This one is for Ann.. Victors sponsor... I just wanted you to see his new teeth have grown in finally...we can stop worrying.

We took the kids to this cool place that had huge nurf air guns that could shoot at each other... Jody was really into this...

This is a cool shot of the street with the new snow evaporating
We had the kids for both lunch and supper ... this is one of those meals.. for lunch we pre ordered, but for supper they got to order off the menu what ever they wanted...


And this is what they order?

Tonight we decided to stay at the guest house to save driving back in the morning... The girls love their room...