Saturday, July 05, 2014

True, funny, sad

A while ago I shared this photo on Facebook:

But I didn't have time to explain it. I just said that it's "true, funny, sad."

True: Every marshrutka (bus/van/"route taxi") has a sign in it that shows how many seats it has.

Funny: Then the sign tells how many standing places the marshrutka officially has. An honest sign would look like the one above. We really pack ourselves into them. Recently Raia and I were out during rush hour, so packed in that I felt like we were barely breathing. A girl next to us did pass out, and it seemed like it was because she couldn't get enough air. As soon as some of the other passengers dragged her out into fresh air, she came around. Sometimes it really does seem like an infinite number of people tries to get on one marshrutka.

Sad: The last part doesn't show up on real marshrutka signs, but it is the way things work here. There is just no place for the disabled in daily life. The kids I love so much at the orphanage I visit are there, pretty much because there's no other place for them. If they have families, it would be very hard for those families to care for them. I got to help someone who grew up in that orphanage come back for a visit, and we waited while many marshrutkas passed by, until a bigger bus with wider doors came. Then we were able to lift her in with her wheelchair. Definitely not easy. No real handicap access. Now that she's a young adult, she has to live in a nursing home away from regular life, too, just because her legs don't work.

(But...! My friend is starting work on two homes that will house at least some of these young adults and let them take part in normal life. Let me know if you're interested in hearing more about that and supporting this amazing project.)

1 comment:

Baba Julie said...

Wow! That is hard to imagine. I hadn't thought about the fact that I hadn't seen ANY handicapped people in Ukraine. They sure couldn't get on the Mashrutkas! With so much handicap access here in the US, it is hard to picture. Love to you all!