Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Belarussian Odyssey Part VI: Tuesday July 12th

For some reason, my photo links are not working today...willl link later. My entry...

Brad, Tink, Jon and Roomie (Don) have gone to the church at Krichev. It’s funny how they left and the energy changed. It’s hard to explain, but it felt a little edgier with the kids.

Today was haircut day with the kids. Kathy and Helena cut the boys hair with clippers, which get pretty hot from cutting all of those heads. The haircuts ran the spectrum from tiny Вова (Vova) to a big boy named Сергей (Sergei). Сергей rides his bike in the courtyard and comes to visit quite a bit, apparently. The kids seem to like him, and he them. I think he saw the kids with haircuts, or perhaps knew intuitively (who really knows how information is passed in the orphanage; I just know it takes seconds for information to pass from one or a few children to all of the children) that it was time for a haircut and this was the place to do it.

Small Miracle: Люда (Lyooda) was watching us cut the boys’ hair. We were getting toward the end and Kathy had to go fill out the police forms (see below). She asked me to go fill in for her so I finished Pasha’s hair, which was cool because he was the first person I met at the orphanage it was a good chance to reconnect with him. After I finished, I motioned for Люда to sit down. She said, "Nyet" and stomped off in typical Люда fashion…but then slowly inched her way back as I cut the next boy’s hair. Again I asked and this time she said something loud and gruff, as is her way, which to my thinking was along the lines of "Haircut? Haircut? I don’t need no stinkin’ haircut!!!" So I motioned a third time and put down the clippers, holding up a comb. Then I made a combing motion and said Пожалуйста.…please? She relented and plopped down. I started to comb her hair, to take out the myriad knots that had formed. One by one, they came out. It was a difficult process, and I tried not to pull her hair, though I’m sure I did. I have brushed out Katie Rose’s hair, and even the with small knots of one or two days often cause pulls that make her cry until she can’t take it anymore. Granted, Люда is older and tougher, but she never even moved, much less winced. She was in a deep trance, perhaps far away from here. The time I spent combing her hair was probably less than ten minutes, but it seemed like hours, perhaps to both of us. Then, I shifted the chair, she came out of her spell, and our time together was over.

Today was also the day for our papers to be processed at the police station. Carolyn and Елена went into town to the station with our passports and visas. Things did not go well. Apparently, it’s very complicated. They gave them new forms and Елена had to interview each of us and interpret our answers. It was a two-page form and there were thirteen of us. Apparently, it is Very Complicated, and that is all…. Then, we went into town to drop the passports and papers off to be processed, again. While that was being done, we went shopping in Belinichi for groceries: meat and fresh water. Today’s meat of choice was pork: the other white meat.

We also had an opportunity to have bread water, a local drink made from water and bread yeast. It is an amber liquid, with the consistency of flat beer, and has a slightly vinegar-smell to it. Elena asked if we would like to try it and I said, "Absolutely" since I’ve dubbed this trip my own personal Fear Factor. It was mercifully cold (!) and surprisingly refreshing. I held my breath for the next two hours for my stomach’s sake, but no ill came of it. Come to think of it, I’ve not had any problems at all—Thank God! So we went to the meat shop and picked up a loin and some sausages. When you go to the store, they give you the entire chunk of meat in a plastic bag, which you then put in your bag (we had canvas shopper’s bags) and carry it with you, back to the home. We also got a special treat at one of the stores where we stopped: Ice Cream. It was unbelievably cold. The visas were processed, but not without additional diificulties. Suffice it to say it was very, very complicated.

I led devotions tonight and read the story of the Great Commission, where Jesus sends 72 people out into the world, to spread His love and His word, like sheep among wolves. They would sow seeds and prepare them for a time when more harvesters would come. You say you want a Revelution…errr....Revelation: I realized the people who came before us, for the last six years, have prepared the way for us to come here and teach these kids, to love these kids, and tot ell them about Jesus. Likewise, the things we do and say in this week will have an effect on future groups, hopefully laying a foundation for them.

As Craig and I walked to the bathroom that evening, we were talking about something, some process or another, and he said, "It’s not that complicated." I thought to myself that this was perhaps the first time that particular sentence had ever been uttered in that country.
Another revelation: This is the longest I have gone without a suit in almost six years.


The Spaniard said...

Bread Water, a.k.a. Kvas is good - as long as it cold! I too had my first taste of Kvas - probably at exactly the same time as You - but down the road in Krichev. I was pleasantly surprised, however, your Roomie (Don), Tink and Jon were less enthusiastic about Kvas that i was.

Our good friend Pavel said it is not very popular in his hometown of Smolensk, Russia - but for good reason. Kvac is basically "bread soda" which must be fermented in huge vats for days at a time. Years ago a few guys in Smolensk got drunk (as people often do over there) and went climbing on/around these vats - they fell in and drowned but no one knew until days later - after hundreds of people had ingested the peculiar tasting Kvas.

I'm sure someone said " that again!"

that is all

FishrCutB8 said...

Man!!! I am telling you....