Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ready for December

This week we had an abbreviated school week, with the girls gone shopping with Maria on Tuesday for winter coats and shoes while the boys had class with Garry without a translator. He said it was easy because they just continued working on balancing feed rations, and he is getting down the terminology for math in Russian. We had planned a final fun outing for Thursday, thinking we would switch class to Friday, but that all fell apart when Garry had to take the boys and meet Maria for a trip to the secondhand store, unfortunately it was 75% women's clothing there, so they had to go to the outdoor market to find all the boys warm shoes, coats hats and gloves for work and for good.

Thursday the boys did go to play paintball against Garry and some of the other guys who work on the farm and had a great time, although Garry has a few red spots on his arms from direct hits. The girls were going to go bowling at the same time, but Nastya was sick the day before and had to stay in bed to rest. Nastya had walked all the way to class on Wednesday morning, even though she had a fever. We put her to bed in our house during class, and drove her home to the girls' house in the afternoon. The girls and boys houses are on Centralna, the same street as our house, and class, but it is a kilometer walk.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Food week at school

Here they are separating cream in the classroom
Last week the students were very excited because Garry taught them cream and cheesemaking, Ukrainian style. Many Ukrainian households make extra money by milking a cow or two or three and making the milk into value added products. Sleevki, cream thick enough to spread like butter on bread and cottage cheese made from the skim milk, is then sold in the market or along the highway, Ukrainians love to eat them.

We bought an electric cream separator a couple years ago, the students had to learn how it works and how to take it apart and put it back together, too. Their favorite part of the lesson was sampling it on a loaf of bread and taking a 500 ml jar full back to each group home to enjoy eating.
you can see how thick it is in the jar

And on the bread too!

Tuesday they learned how to cook the skim milk to make the curds, they had to come into our house for that part of the lesson, I took a photo of them straining the curds through an old lace curtain. The whey is falling into a big pot, then it hung overnight to drain, and they got to take bags of dry cottage cheese home with them.

making cottage cheese

Friday the students had an anatomy lesson on work day when they got to see the inside of a cow. There was a young cow in the barn that was not able to get pregnant and was not giving much milk, so they had decided to butcher her. The students were not upset by the idea of watching the cow become dinner (there is no butcher to call to kill your cow and cut it up in the village like in Canada, it is a DIY project.) Garry thought the girls might not like it, but Karina was jumping up and down in excitement with the idea of eating liver. In the afternoon the boys were helping cut up a front quarter at their house (the girls did their quarter Saturday) except Valera, who helped Garry all day, the girls came in the afternoon, too, and worked in our kitchen, too, except Julia, who was scheduled to help with milking. Now everyone will have meat to eat for a while, hopefully months.

Valera in foreground, Garry and Max Rudei in back

Nastya running the electric meat grinder for Hamburger

Karina cut meat. too.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bowling and Conference in Kiev

soup's on!
Last week on Thursday we planned a bowling excursion with the students. Suisha, Luda's daughter from the girls' house was teaching computer use that morning, and we planned a slightly shorter school day and I invited the students in for soup and bread at 11:30 so we could leave by noon for Zaporosia.

We were off to pick up Suisha, who was going with us and the students and were on the highway by 12:05 in Victor's van.
Getting instruction from the guy at the Bowling Palace
The students really enjoyed bowling and it was pretty inexpensive, so we will definitely do it again. Everybody will be used to going on escalators hopefully, for some of the students it was their first time to ride one at the mall, and bowling was on the third floor. A cleaning lady helped Nastya get on the first one with her, because she was scared.
I got a couple photos before the guy told me no photos...
Maria spent the night and at 5 am we picked up Luda and Suisha to go to a conference in Kiev for people working with orphans, mentors and group home parents. Ira, from the boys home went on the train with the group from Zaporosia, the night before.

Maria translated for Garry and I and Jessica, an American who works in Zaporosia, although her Russian is pretty good. The welcome was in Ukrainian and then they switched to Russian so everyone could understand!
Far right- Luda and Suisha after lunch with Sasha and Vera from Zaporosia

One of the ladies sitting at our table was trying to get Jessica to date her son
She had photos, and he would like an American wife, I guess.
The hotel was not hard to find, right on the Kiev Odessa highway and was attached to the mall, the meetings and lunches were upstairs at the mall. We skipped the final dinner and drove home, getting back to the village around 11 pm Saturday night.
Looking down the escalators at the mall

The Zaporosia/ Nikoliapolia New Hope group

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Thanksgiving dinner with the students

The metal is on the roof, the carpenters are doing the finishing
at the boys house
Garry had the idea last week...
we should have a Thanksgiving dinner with the students and they could all make something to eat.

We had it Friday afternoon at the boys' house, and everything was delicious too. We all sat around the ping pong table, and we even had everyone say what they were thankful for before we ate.

Here are some photos of the fun.

Garry is calling Maria to see where she is (still on the bus)
and valera is excited about the olivea salad and potatoes the girls brought

Simeon is frying potato pancakes

Kolya is getting his very chocolate dessert he made out of the freezer
I made the pumpkin pie, roast turkey and stuffing 

Yulia or Julia as she now prefers smiles a lot now

Kolya enjoying Maria's piroskie- like a bun filled with apple

Natastya and Maria sat on one side of me

Karina wasn't hungry, the girls had eaten noodles before they came
she was getting Simeon to listen to a song here, she did help with the dishes

Valera made this layered salad with cooked beets, potatoes, carrot and herring

The new guys- Kolya/Nikoli, Sasha and Simeon eating jello

Julia eating jello
Empty dishes by dessert time
(valera grabbed the camera for this photo of Garry and I)

dessert is so good!

smiles everywhere

all cleaned up

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Once there were eight...

Last summer Garry promised Maria, his assistant, who was busy calling, and emailing various Christian organizations working with orphans in Ukraine, that when we had eight students for the school, we would take her out for a special dinner at the fancy restaurant near her house in the city.

Maria is busy translating in Garry's class
When school started in September we thought there might be eight students, but that quickly changed when Tolik left and we have had seven most of the time, last week there were eight again when the Kolya who came and left after a week reappeared...

Sasha, front, Valera and Kolya (the first one to arrive in the summer)

...but then over last weekend, our Sasha from Reni, took off. The pull of helping his real family was too much after a couple weeks of staying here at the school after he was originally going to go find work and help his siblings who had left where they were living at the foster home run by the Swedish lady. The other students were phoning him and trying to get him back, but he is staying away, Kolya is very sad because they had become very good friends.

Today there is yet another guy named Sasha, out to visit the school who might join us... it seems the original idea that we would be taking more new students in January has gone out the window. It makes teaching English interesting, since we keep getting new students. Garry says that the idea is just trying to keep enough students to run the school, he had originally said we needed six to start in September and we have stayed between six and eight (three have left if you lost count).
Sasha in class with the guys earlier this fall

 Poor Maria, she should have gotten that dinner in last week, but there are a few more prospective students she has contacts with, so there will be more visits and interviews and hopefully health checks and document registrations to do.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Trade school update

Two weeks ago was the fall school break and a few students were away, the ones who stayed in the village were still helping with milking (the ones who left switched with students who were here) however no classes and no Friday work or Monday and Wednesday afternoon work like school weeks. The past week was the week that the house parents were teaching, and we had some complaints about student behavior. The house parents have started an anti-smoking campaign - all but two students smoke to varying degrees by choosing between having tea and cookies during class breaks or you can go out in the cold to smoke.

 Next week it will be Garry (with Maria translating) and I teaching, and we seem to not have as many problems with students fighting among themselves or inattention. We are back to eight students with the reappearance of Kolya #3, who had come for a week and been gone for two, although he still seems to have trouble understanding the system here (getting paid but then paying for food and utilities), and Simeon, who was away for more than a week for the break and his birthday. Strangely these two boys look so much alike, Garry and I have trouble telling them apart.
Karina (hiding her cigarette) and Simeon

We had one prospective student out overnight on Wednesday, but decided not to have him join us, because we are really not set up for students with mental disabilities, and we have one or two borderline guys already. It would be wonderful if we could help more of these kind of people, because they have a bleak future in Ukraine. Adult facilities are rather like prison, and on the street they are easily taken advantage of.
The old roof is off, the strapping is going on

Garry was checking out how many pieces of roofing there are 

They will get all the soffit and fascia on too
The roof is finally being finished on the old part of the boys' house. Garry hired some local guys a couple weeks ago, it looks like the left over metal roofing from the addition's roof will work and we bought the wood needed to strap it. The shefer (asbestos roofing sheets) taken off the house roof will be reused to fix the roof on the remodeled trade school barn. Our guys have been fixing the roof of the barn by removing broken pieces and using good ones from another section to patch with, because the stuff for sale now has a different size wave in, and each section going down needs to be the same type. Garry had planned to do the final section with new pieces, but we will see how much will need to be purchased now with the recycled pieces to fill in.

the barn roof