Friday, May 23, 2014

Fire update

We began the day yesterday with a visit to the baby hospital .  We delivered six hand washing stations along with the needed supplies. it turns out that there was going to be an inspection later in the day by the infectious health unit, so the timing was great .  We called Vlady, and he left the car repairs and came over right away and installed them all . 

Next stop was a visit with Larisa to do some planing for how we would deal with the fire victims . 

Larissa is very organized with names and information on all the families. there are 24 adults and 27 children that she is advocating  for .   First of all we are so thankful that there were no casualties , especially since they were all asleep at the time .  The only one injured was this kitten that is convalescing in Larisa's living room right now  

 The place the families are at right now is only a temporary shelter where they can say for 10 days .   Her first concern was that we needed to find a place for them to get washed up and have a shower after the ordeal.  There is a Banya ( sauna ) in the village, so we started there and asked if they would allow the people to come and use the Banya .. it is expensive for them to keep the banya running, so it was agreed that if we bring them enough wood scraps from the fire to heat the water , they would fire it up for the next three days so we could get the families cleaned up.  For this we just need to buy them some towels and some soap etc.. and maybe tooth brush and paste as well.. 

We then went to see first hand the situation.  It was lunch time and we were able to talk to the cook.  she herself lived in the burned out apartment, but has had to step up to get them through this.  I was happy to see that donations have been coming in, and they have an accurate accounting of all donations in, and how they were distributed.  I was also happy to see organizations like Lepta plus and Tiwan children s fund was very quick to supply clothes and food.  


We talked with them to find out urgent needs.  At first they said that they were OK, but i could tell that she was just shy to ask, I know the feeling all to well, but have learned that for the sake of those you are helping who have no voice, you have to get over it and speek up.  So I asked again, and she began to open up.  

At night there is no electricity and the out house is three floors down and outside , it would be nice if we could get a flash light for each family.  
Then when pressed about the food again, they said that it would be nice to have eggs, and maybe some form of meat .  Larisa pointed out that they have only eaten rice and pasta and potatoes,  and the bag of rice we provided the first day was almost gone.  
We also noticed that there was no fruit or vegetables... as well with no washing facilities it was difficult for those with babies and pampers would be great for a few days .  

There was just NOTHING left.. absolutely NOTHING
this picture shows the apartement, and in the distance the collage where the families found temporary shelter on the tird floor dorm rooms .  
One of the men from the fire , later introduced as Somerbek waves from the window.  

 After we looked around , we went to the bazaar to get supplies, and Larisa went back to the hospital to try to secure a more permanent location for the people . 

I was so encouraged when we went to the Bazaar, we went to all the same suppliers that we go to to make up the food hampers... they all give us great prices because they know that we are giving the food to people in need.  When we told them where this was going, even with out asking for a discount, they lowered the price, infact I know that what they charged us in many cases was way less then what they pay themselves... 
It is a blessing to us when we see people here prepared to give.. it was not always like that .. 

When we returned , we were waiting for Larisa before unpacking the car, so we went back over the the apartment.  There we met Somerbeck again.  I shared with him how sorry we were for his loss, then just let him talk.. he needed to tell his story... 

He took us down to the last two apartments , they were his.  the upstairs was one he used for his children and grandchildren , and the lower level he and his wife lived.

He showed us the renovations he had just done there , the new foundation work, a new washing machine, and he tried to describe the work he had done inside . 

He shared how this was his retirement , his home and upstairs his investment 

He is already trying to figure out what to do next.  He says he can build them a new house... if he starts soon, he can be in before winter.  He can use the logs left from the apartment that are not to badly burned , and make the bricks out of straw and mud.  The part that he can not afford is the cement for the foundation and floor.  he figures if some one could help him with about $750 for these materials , he would be ok .... but he was more concerned for the seniors and the young families with little kids 

He showed us his garden that he had planted beside his apartment 

 When Larisa arrived we began unpacking the supplies we brought .  Rice, Buckweat, Beef, eggs , apples, pampers, and flashlights.

We then sat down with them to discuss what next.  Larisa had good news that we can use the top floor of the hospital, the only problem there is the roof is leeking and the electricity and water is not working . Sine we will have at least one year there , we are getting a price now to get these repairs done.. it may be a small price to pay for a years repreave for these 18 families.  We will know in a couple days if this is viable 

again the men reiterated that first we need to look after the seniors and the kids, and once their needs were met, then we could start caring for the others.  They also said that there would be so many needs for even the most basic things like hot plates and wash clothes.. that maybe we should not feed them , that way if they did not eat maybe there would be more start up money or things to get them back on their feet. 

We told them that we would bring the meals for them on Monday for the whole day, and that we would also make some lists of needs  with them family by family..  then we will know how best to help.. and where to start.  We will share this information you you Monday night , and maybe you would considering an item or even a family to sponsor to start over 

This is the lady that is heading up the food and accounting for Larisa

It was difficult.  I need Gods direction here .  do we treat this as a group or do we take chips at it as we can .. If I had $750 and could give materials  it to Somerbeck, , that would be 2 of the 18 families cared for permanently.  Or do we focus on the group as a whole ... Still do not know the direction.. we will have to see how God leads you and how he directs me. 

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