Monday, May 25, 2009

Meet Aidar

This is not exactly the order I wanted to post in. But I have to relay this story as I have just received exciting information and need to act on it. The little boy above is Aidar. We were unable to take photos at the orphanage where Aidar lives. (He lives in the same orphanage that a famous person visited some time ago and caused quite a stir so cameras cause skeptisism.) We were one of the first and among very few allowed to visit this facility. Here there are many many sad stories to be told. Some of the children in this place never get out of bed. They are like little birds in their nests. One little man though screams out to me for help. (no he did not actually scream for help verbally) Aidar greeted us at the door to his building. He grabbed my hand and never let go. He lead me through the hallway and to his playroom. My first indication that something was seriously wrong was the temperature of his hand. His fingers were ice cold. When looking at his fingers they were blue! And his fingers are clubbed. Which means he has a cardiac defect and his extremities are not being oxygenated. He has been living with poor oxygen delivery for probably his whole life, but the color of his lips and his fingers concerned me that eventually he will succomb to his defect if not treated. Aidar is about 5 years old. I will know his exact age in the next few weeks.
So from the time we returned from our trip I have been asking those who have access to help get Aidar's heart evaluated. Two days ago I received initial word! Aidar will have a cardiac Echo Monday morning. He will then be evaluated by the cardiologist in the capitol city. His reports will also be translated and brought to the US to find out exactly what his defect is and if it can be corrected surgically. From here I put out a call for help. I am looking for ideas to pull off a fundraiser for Aidar. Send us ideas in the comment section!!! I will update on Aidar as often as I get information. I will most likely get new photos soon! This photo is from before he was moved out of the baby house.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our project being delivered

Tuesday was WE day. Today the project We learned about in December, worked on,talked about, networked for will be delivered! This was a day WE have been waiting for. A short history; back in December, unscheduled and off the beaten path WE stopped in to see this specialized orphanage. This facility holds only about 30 children right now. They are age approzimately 6-14. Each of these kids has a medical or mental condition. From my perspective these conditions seem to include autism, developmental delay, epilepsy, lazy or crossed eyes. All the children were high functionaing. Some delayed more then others. Why were we drawn to this facility? We will never know. But what WE do know is we have now made a difference. Because we stopped, this facility now has a computer, and as of this day the finances to connect the building to the city water supply. Prior, they were carrying water for the whole facility up the stairs to use for their daily needs. Today they have been given a peace that WE held our word, We returned and again sat with this director in his office. Not only did we provide the

finances we were able to treat each one of the children to a new outfit, shorts and a shirt. We also left somsas for each of the children and the workers as well as handed out candy to each.

The pictures of the children show their excitement as they try on their new clothes. I was even able to get this older stoic boy to smile for me. And what a handsome smile it was. I can only hope that as he grows and nears the end of his time in the orphanage he and all the kids will remember that WE care and We will do whatever it takes to come back and visit them again and again and again.

The director- He knew we were coming today and wore his traditional Kalpak a suit and a tie. He was very excited and very grateful. We have already been invited back for a party on our next visit as a thank you for our help! We thank every one of our friends as it is only through our friends that We were able to provide this ray of hope and happiness!

Handing out trinkets on the street was just one of our favorite activities. We caught unsuspecting children offguard most everywhere we went. Footballs, Baseballs, light up key chains, Beanie Babies, Matchbox cars and many kilograms of candy were handed out during our two weeks here.

After our delivery at the specialized orphanage we made the trek out to a second orphange. This facility has had many renovations sponsered by the folks here in Kyrgyzstan that we have spent so much time with. Sergey was very ver proud showing us the updated kitchen, washrooms, and heating system here. Our short visit turned into a concert and time to just hang and play with these children.
The girls performed the traditional Kyrgyz Dance. And two of the boys recited a portion of the epic poem Manas!

But this amazing day was not over yet..... At the end of the day we were invited to tea with Sergei and his family; wife Natasha, and son Dima. For those who read the brother blogs to this one.... Sergei is a young man whose hand was mangled in a machine accident at work. He had given up hope, he did not know where to turn. Somehow he had the courage to ask Sergey (confusing here a bit but I spelled them both different so to tell them apart) for advice. Sergey's story was paced on Act of Kindness. Where I then read the story and took it to heart. I also asked readers for help as I knew very well the trials this man would go through in losing a portion of his hand. Within a week I received an email saying " the funds for Sergei's operation have been delivered!" WOW!!!! AMAZING.... Sergei has now had one surgery, has daily physical therapy, and will have a second surgery to attempt to improve the function of his fingers. Our surgeries were similar. And even without interpretation of languages we understood what each was telling. We both have had skin grafting, both taken from our right hips! To me this night was so extremely powerful. I still can not really fully explain the magnitude of our meeting. But a few of Sergei's words will forver live in my heart.
" My wife and I did not know what to prepare for you, we were nervous and scared to meet you, we did not know what to expect. But now you are here and we know.... You are just like us."

"After my surgery I did not know what I would do to support my family. Most men in Kyrgyzstan when faced with a stress turn to drinking. But when we heard that people were willing to help us we thought we had received a miracle in our lives and we knew we would be ok"

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kara Balta Pass

April 27

Pictures best describe the beauty of this day. I sure would never be able to write about the true beauty of the Kara Balta mountain pass. This pass connects the Chuie valley with Osh. Approaching the pass we were stopped by the Police (everyone was). Not everyone was allowed to take this pass. I am not sure if they were more worried about Avalanches and snow conditions or the fact that this pass can be used for less then legal activities. Whatever the case, Sergey told the authorities that he was driving American's here doing a documentary about Kyrgyzstan. And WALLA we were on our way. Go Sergey!

At the base of the mountain we had wonderful 60 degree weather. Approaching the top we started experiencing some snow showers. Then all out snowy conditions. This made for some great snowball fights, and snow angels. The way up and down provided many photo opportunities. Waterfalls, wishing trees, snowcapped mountains and then we were IN the snowcap itself.

Our models for the day had a blast. Asylbeck and Artur certainly enjoyed the attention. And for a moment Asylbeck was a kid himself again. Sit back, relax, enjoy the photos and videos from the day.

Don't believe the sign! The curve ahead was much more then a slight angulated curve. More like switchbacks at some points winding up the mountain.

The stream was ice cold, fed by the spring melting snow. Cold or not though the stream provided beautiful photos in many locations.

The photos just don't do this justice.

A bit overcast winding our way to midrange of the mountain

The boys tried some rock climbing. Artur went a bit too high before Being brought back down almost sliding.

Feeling on top of the world!

I am a waterfall fanatic and could have spent all day photographing this one! You'll note the familiarity of this waterfall from Fred's past post!

While photographing the waterfall I here my name echoed through the canyon!!!! I had a hard time spotting where the voice came from. From way atop the rocks Asylbeck had climbed and was waiting for his photo to be taken.

The horses use this Pass too. We passed this group on the way up, and on the way down the mountain.

Kyrgyz Cowboys at work!

Before the switchbacks, getting a bit misty

Yes we drove through that bridge!

Misty turns to snowy

snow turns to fun!

The top of the mountain! This tunnel connected the pass to Osh. We decided we would have to explore further another day.

The top of the mountain and above the clouds. Blue skies and sun!

And FUN!!!

Heading back down

Back in Tokmok we stopped for radishes LOL or are these turnips? Not sure I don't eat either. But they made for a nice photo.

Then at the end of the night..... Beshbarmak!!! Made by our favorite Beshbarmak chef, translater, and just all around friend Accel... Then we went SHOPPPPPPING in her bedroom... For felt critters and Kyrgz crafts. Beats the hustle and bustle of the market. I will post our finds on a separate post. ( I am afraid to add any more photos to this one as I havae had manuga troubles with loading and disappearing photos)

Our day was perfect. Perfect timing, perfect weather, and friendship!!!

A Day Out

April 25


Ok so I have never seen the performance of OKLAHOMA. But today 7000 miles from home I have finally been given the opportunity. The asian twist made me chuckle. The play was in English so that did help. This was a treat for many people and children this day. Our party consisted of the farm five, Sergey Anya and their children, Altinay and a few friends from the school she attends, Asylbeck and Accel and her two girls. We certainly filled our van. I wish I could have been the first person out of the van and videoed everyone getting out. Although the next day we had twice as many people in the same van! Arriving early we were given the opportunity to have an impromptu photo shoot in the park. The children all enjoyed posing for some pretty awesome shots! A Kyrgyz tradition is to have photos taken with the statues on a couples wedding day. But it seems from this day that tradition is not only for the couple getting married. The best part of this day was seeing children who have had to grow up very quickly get a chance to be children.

Later in the evening the farm five spent the night aw ay from the farm. A night to hang out, play games and just again be children if only for a night. Four two hours I sat on the floor entertaining these kids with just a deck of cards, a chess game, and my camera. The cards started as a source to amaze me with feats of magic performed by Becksulton. I figured out a few of his tricks. One his mom was an accomplice to. Oy did she laugh when I figured it out. We then progressed to a game of card house building. No one got too far before the squazniak (breeze blown by one of the children or Asyl) knocked them to the ground.