Thursday, May 31, 2012

Work on the barn remodelling project

pulling the cement feed bunks out

















 March 9th- the beginning

 Garry is starting his new project, cleaning out the collective barn today, he even took a couple photos this morning. He says it is going faster than he thought it would, they should finish it in two weeks. They removed some cement already today. Unfortunately, all the welding they did on the bucket fell apart when they started the heavy lifting, should have used better steel. It still works anyway. Garry has decided to bring a wagon over there everyday to put the old metal they find in the barn and bring it home, so it doesn't disappear. Things that are unguarded can do that it Ukraine.
Cleaned out and ready to start cement

End of March-

Garry said they had the barn nearly cleaned out of cement over at the collective.  They burned all that old hay they took out of the barn, who knows how long it was there, it was loose and musty.

One Saturday they had a group of grad orphans working cleaning bricks. He said John brought out seven boys - about seventeen years old, they were paid by the number of bricks they cleaned. Bricks are worth recycling, they took down a couple interior walls in the barn to get ready to change it into a freestall barn. Garry fed them lunch- three loaves of bread, 2 kilos of hotdogs, a big jar of pickles and 8 liters of soda pop, and a couple bags of potato chips- they ate the leftover bread with ketchup spread on it, and drank the pickle juice too.

One of the reasons this project has group homes is to demostrate family skills for these kids. At 16 they are turned loose from the orphanges, and those who go to trade schools are put in city apartments with no supervision and little spending money, and no skills to live on their own. Very few are able to cope with the lack of structure, they tend to get into drugs and criminal activity, with all the free time. John's church in Zaporosia has an outreach to these teens.

The barn remont (remodel) plan

 During the month of March they recieved an official title for the barn that they bought at the collective farm by purchasing shares from members of the former collective. Many people in the village have them, and the ones holding papers for the bulildings had little chance to get anything for them, so they were happy to sell them for cash money. Once they were able to buy enough certificates, they bought this barn, one of three on the property.

The collective barn that was purchased

Inside the barn before they started
they bought a few other things like the water tower
 This barn will serve two purposes, one being a place to teach and train the student in the agricultural track of the trade school. The other is to provide an income so that the profits will fund the trade school over the years, of course, first it needs money to build and stock the dairy farm. Cows here in Ukraine cost almost the same as ones in North America.

The shell of the barn will be turned into a freestall barn and they will build and equipt a simple milk parlor, this year if the money is donated, or next year. Then they will just raise heifers (young animals) this winter in the barn, with the plan of milking cows sometime in 2013, maybe fall.

Welcome to our "new" project

If you follow our blog about our life in Ukraine, moo-oosings, you know that Garry has become involved in a new project with some other missionaries who wanted to start a trade school that would cater to "graduating orphans" here in Ukraine. I thought it might be easier for people who are interested in the project to follow what's happening if I had a separate blog about progress on the trade school, so here goes!

I will borrow a few blog posts from our  story blog to introduce you to Garry's part in this project. To introduce you to Garry, he felt called to mission work while on a trip to China, and a few years later we found ourselves in a small (500 people) village here in Ukraine with our two teenage boys, trying to set up a small dairy farm, to show better farming techniques and introduce them to Christ. In the year and half that the farm has been operating, many people have come to tour the barn, both Ukrainians and foreigners and all are welcome. Garry's favorite question is why are you here in Ukraine doing this?, because then he can talk about how his faith and that's why he wants to help people.

We met John and Ev Weins, missionaries in Zaporosia, the first year we were here, when the small local church invited is to their Thanksgiving harvest service in September, and told us there would be a Canadian speaker. It was John, and he and his wife Ev invited our family for Canadian Thanksgiving dinner in October. It was so good, but poor Jonah couldn't eat because he had a very sore throat. we finally got him antibiotic pills the next day. At the time we didn't know that we could have just went to the drugstore and bought some, I knew he needed it the week before!

Any way we saw them occasionally, and in 2010 John told Garry about his dream for a trade school that would teach skills to orphans. John had explored the idea of a different locstion, but somehow the project became our village Nikolipolia's as the site for the trade school project.

 Garry was excited about the idea, and when we we home for Christmas that December he flew out to Calgary for a meeting with some interested people to set up a foundation to fund the project. Garry has business cards that were printed last year that name him as co-director with John for Ukraine  and there are native Ukrainians involved in the project also. They hope to have two classes of students for this fall, one in a baking track, and one in the farming track. Right now they are trying to get Garry certified as a teacher here in Ukraine. He has a bachelors degree in dairy husbandry, so they think it can happen, as soon as someone gets all the paperwork filed. Meanwhile he is busy working on retrofitting one of the collective barns that they were able to purchase, to become a freestall barn. If enough money come in then they will also built a milk parlor this year, otherwise they plan to just have heifers (young cows that do not give milk) over there the first year.

Meanwhile they have many pans in the fire as the saying goes. They are fixing up a building next to the school for the the village to use as a kindergarten (think daycare) and they village is supposed to help them get the old kindergarten building to remodel for the trade school (right now it has a roof that was crushed by a fallen tree, it will take some work to finish) There are many rules to follow, since we have been approved by the government as an experimental trade school. They have found a director, and some people are working on getting all the paperwork done for everything. I hear that the first textbook has arrived.

There is also the foster homes where 6-8 orphan teenagers (either males or females) will live with a Christian family or couple, the first families are being selected now. They have purchased a house that will need to be cleaned and remodelled before anyone can move in. So there is much to do, as soon as the money comes in to do it.