We are back from our 16 day stint out at the farm. I am on the internet, with my feet up and a fresh cup of coffee and a chocolate chip cookee .. it was an exciting few weeks. The first week with our friends from Norwood Ontario and the second week with our friends from Cincinatti Ohio . The next 4 days were probably the most challenging. We gave Aigula, Jengish and Emma some time off to relax , and Julie and I stayed on at the farm. We had no translator, so it was just our poor broken Russian and a whole lot of hand signals. There was still so much work going on so we were working along with them and playing Foreman as well as cooking all the meals. Jengish said it would be a really great way for us to improve our Russian , HE SAID ... well I spent most of my days with the fine young man .. who has a severe cleft pallet, and cleft lip and a slight stutter.. he also speaks a mix of Kyrgyz and Russian ... " You will improve your Russian He said" ! but we survived and in the end I could actually understand a bit of what he was saying .. but maybe it was the flailing arms that helped .
We had a few donations toward a new automatic washer and dryer. This is only the second dryer I have seen in Kyrgyzstan. What a blessing to be able to dry sheets and clothes on a rainy day. Julie focused on Laundry and sorting to prepare for guests .. with the teams and all the kids and the extra workers we had as many as 36 different people staying at the farm over a couple weeks .. that's a lot of Laundry It was amazing to watch Logan show everyone how to work the dryer , in fact he was up every night late keeping an eye on it .
The roof is on the poultry barn, and now the inside walls are all cemented, and the cage dividers are to the ceiling
We have a small room over on the Aigula's side in the third house that we had fixed up but was not yet in use, So we decided to fix that up for when we have extra builders at the farm. This will free up a room in the boys house so we have room now to take more kids when they show up.
Over on the same farm, Misha has been working with Vlady to get the Banya up and running . A banya is like a sauna but closer to a steam bath. The kids love a Banya and we have been paying for them to go to one every few weeks. But now that we have our own, we will fire it up every few days . We will also set up a swimming pool in this court yard, so I am sure that this property will get lots of use in the future. We have also put the old washing machine that had a washer and a spinner in the bathroom here . the house attached to this property has two bedrooms and beds for up to 8 people and is the emergency shelter if needed, as well as a guest house for travelers and for when teams come.
We fired up the Banya and in just minutes the plastic ceiling began to peal off . Obviously the people we bought from had the ceiling up, but never used it as a Banya. Looks like this week I will put up a wood ceiling in there
Lunch continues to be one of my favourite times at the farm. especially now that Aigula is back and I did not have to cook it.
Everyone sits around a community table and talks and laughs. I am always amazed how happy every one is. Noting like a lunch room table that I would experience in North America .. No one has very much, but they are content, and thankfully for all that they do have . I think just coming and having lunch with them would sure change the attitude of a lot of people from the west.
Yesterday after lunch Julie gave out a bunch of t shirts that some one had donated. Not everyone wanted to pose for the photo, but every one DID love their shirt. We told them that we don't expect that they will stay that clean on the farm, but they would make nice cool work shirts in the summer when working in the fields
So Aigula and Aizada were busy today planting more Raspberries at her side . We are adding another 500 plants this year .
Then the rest were over on the boys side. Lots going on there. 4 people were building the new fence in front of the main street farm, and two were digging a trench behind the house. Right now the water outlet is in side and that brings a lot of mud into the house. We are trying to help the boys get the house nice, so an outside water line s needed, so we will run this line over to the barn.
mean while there were 6 more working on pouring the foundation for the green house. There are two foundations like this that are being poured. The green house will be built in two phases. The first will have the water supply and the boiler system in it as well as about 1500 sq feet of green house. Then once this is up and running we work towards the next 1500 sq feet . The trench was dug about three feet down, then poured with cemented stones. Once it hardens, the centre will be dug out , and used to make the building blocks that will build the back wall and earth berm that will be about 4 feet high .. That will make the total height about 6 1/2 feet .
So on a personal note. I have been fighting a battle with my blood sugar for almost a year now. using a combination of exercise, a change of eating habits, pills and a low dose insulin, I have finally been able to reach and maintain my target levels for almost a month now. I started at 19 but now am at a fairly constant 7. In fact since returning to the farm and the busy life here, I have actually been able to lower my dose three times and am still maintaining the right levels.
Now here is a real battle .. All you have to do is stop for a second and look around and you can always find some one who is in worse shape .
We ran into this man a couple days ago. We were late for an appointment with one of the teams, so Jengish got his number and made a date to visit him today. When he first came to me asking for some bread money, He had a stagger and was all black and blue .. it would have been easy to dismiss him as drunk, but Jengish was able to talk to him and determine that he had not been drinking, but actually had Cerebral Palsy. He was all black and blue because he has episodes and falls off his bike when he does. He also found out that he cares for his mother who is also disabled. We are going to talk to him about working out at the farm a few 1/2 days a week . I am sure we can find some small job he can do , maybe grooming the cows or something like that .. but maybe not collecting the eggs.
Over the next few days we will see what we can come up with and keep you posted. We are thinking a three wheel bike would be great for him . We have no idea yet how much that would be but when we know we will let you know. Maybe someone would like to help with that. What I do know is that for some reason Jengish has been drawn to help this man, and that's good enough for me.