Saturday, July 04, 2020

Fourth of July: Mr. Howard

A few days ago the Kherson library system posted an American history quiz in honour of the Fourth of July. The prize was a book in English. (About an Englishman, but that's close to American history, right?) He's actually someone I've been wanting to read about, so I took the quiz. It was hard!


But, I got the answers right. I'll admit that I had to guess on a few, and then I checked them with Google, but I was honest and left my first guesses. One other person got all the answers right, and he won the book.

But then I wrote back and forth with the library about it. The book not available here, and it's expensive even in America ($50!). They offered me the electronic files of a working translation into Russian, though, and that looks good. Also, the American library I have access to has a copy, but it's in their hard-to-access format. (About library ebooks: Overdrive=good, Hoopla=mediocre, ProQuest=bad.)

I had been wanting to read about John Howard because of two connections: one, he died and was buried in Kherson. We have streets and squares named after him and a monument. And, two, Charlotte Mason mentions him a few times in her writing. So, I'll read in Russian and/or fight with ProQuest....

Friday, July 03, 2020

Last day of camp

Thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for camp. As I said in our June prayer letter, it's been good, but sometimes hard. Today is the last day. Please pray for them to finish well and for an ongoing impact in the lives of all these kids.

 And pray especially for Jaan. Last night after all the kids left, he stayed on at church. He was riding the youth pastor's moped and tipped it over, injuring his left hand pretty badly. As he said, the camp nurse was already gone, so they went into the medical room and "poured everything on it," then wrapped it up and had his friend walk him home. This morning the Sunday school director cleaned it again (she's a paramedic) and said that the nurse needed to take a look. I went to check on him, take him cold coffee--it's really hot again--and make sure that he did actually get to the nurse. She says that he'll be okay, but she wants to be sure to change the bandage again herself tonight before he comes home. So, please pray for good healing and strength for today in the heat after a bad night. Enough already with injuries for our family! (My leg is pretty much healed by now, which is good.)

 Here are a few photos from the past few days:

Asya's group
(From before the injury)

Bogdan's group
All the camp workers
This morning: note that Jaan has a child on his head already

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Our girls at camp

Yesterday I only had photos of our boys. Here are Raia and Asya now:






(There's no change with my leg. It's not better or worse today.)


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Bad dog :-(

Yesterday when I was walking back from getting drinking water, a little dog jumped out and bit my leg quite badly. We cleaned the bite, soaked it, and did what we could, but I had a fever off and on through the night. So, this morning we went to the nice doctor who treated me when I had bronchitis. She sent me on to a surgeon, not for surgery, just because this isn't her specialty.

The surgeon was also really nice and actually did exactly what I would have wanted, if I could have chosen in advance. He said that he could put drainage (tubes?) in the wound, prescribe antibiotics, vaccines. But, since he didn't want to torture me and didn't want to cause any more reactions, he would wait and see. He cleaned everything out really well and showed us how to continue caring for it at home. We have both doctors' personal phone numbers now, and we're supposed to call if it gets worse. He said that the next few days will show how it's going to go and if we need to do anything more.

So...please pray that everything will just heal up really well.

We're supposed to stay in contact with the dog's owner to make sure that she stays healthy. If she dies soon, they'll assume rabies and send me for shots; we're definitely hoping that won't happen! The owner says that she just bites. She's bitten him, and he didn't get sick. That's good news for me, but why does he keep her?!?! (UPDATE: good news. Will went back again to the house where the dog lives, and this time he got the wife, not the husband. The dog is her baby, not his, and she was able to tell Will that all its shots are up to date, so rabies is not a concern at all.)

I can limp-walk pretty well, and I feel fine now. Like I said, please pray for good healing and thank God for these good doctors.

Our kids are doing great at camp. Jaan's and Bogdan's groups won the big game yesterday, and here they are getting their prizes for that today:


Monday, June 15, 2020

The past two weeks (Raia's birthday!)

Today was the first day of art camp at our church. I was thinking about how last year I was in the hospital in Kyiv while our kids did this. The year before I was a camp counselor myself. This year it feels good just be sit at home and be healthy.  (Oh, yeah. This is what I wrote exactly one year ago today.) Jaan, Raia, and Asya left home before I was even awake this morning. They're all helping as part of the camp team. Then I took Bogdan at 8:00. He bounced through the medical checks and went off to find his group all by himself. I didn't even get to say goodbye. Asya was greeting kids and gave me a big hug. Jaan was working on something on the stage and waved to me from afar. Raia was probably already fully engrossed in camp life; I didn't even see her.

Other than camp, we've had a good end to the year at music school. One day Will and I went to sign papers for Bogdan, and they gave us his award for good grades and made arrangements to get his picture up on the board of honor. When Jaan heard, he said that of course, someone has to take Raia's place. Another day Asya's teacher was concerned that over the phone it sounded like something was sticking on her flute, so she asked us to bring it in. After looking at it outside, she got special permission to bring Asya in for a "secret lessson." Asya was overjoyed! It was their first (only) in person lesson since March. Now they're off for the summer.

Raia, her teacher, and other grads met at a cafe.

Asya and her friends together again for a birthday.
We've enjoyed some long walks that I've taken with four of the kids from our house--not the oldest two, and not the very youngest one, all the others.




Spontaneous concert at home
Another walk:




Also, on Wednesday, the music school decided that they could have a small, private, outdoor graduation ceremony the next day. (Quarantine continues, but Kherson region has been doing wonderfully. There weren't even any active covid19 cases for a while.) That was nice. I went with Raia, and then she and I celebrated with coffee afterwards. They asked us not to post lots of photos of the ceremony on social media, but I shared a few, and I'm sure it's fine to post a few more here:




Then, the birthday! Raia turned 15 yesterday. Because of all the busyness, we celebrated with her friends on Friday. First they had a sleepover at church, which was more just to be together as a ministry team than for Raia's birthday, but it was a start to the celebrations. Then they came over to our house in the evening for hamburgers and more. We gave Raia two books. She wanted to start collecting a certain series, and her friend had planned to get her the first book, so we ordered the second. But it turned out that the first is very hard to find and more expensive, so her friend couldn't do it. But Will found a used one in perfect condition, a special reprint with lots of illustrations and notes from the author. Raia was excited about the second book, which I handed to her first, but she was really excited about the first.




Then on Sunday we had cake with our English-speaking friends, too:


And here are the first few photos coming in from camp:




There have been more and better ones already, and I'm sure there will be even more to come, but in these you can see Jaan with his group, Bogdan with a new friend, and Asya on the stage for a skit and Bogdan in the audience.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

School is out


We finished our school year! It feels good to be done. All the end of the year stuff for music school was different this year, and, especially with Raia graduating, it took a lot of effort. Finishing art school is just fun and sad that it’s over; no exams there. And finishing at home is good. (I just realized that Bogdan finished 1st grade at music school, 2nd grade at home, and 3rd grade at art school. That amuses me, so I came back to add it here.)



Filming exams
Raia's art
Quarantine continues, but it is loosening up step by step. Our region is doing quite well, with very few cases of coronavirus. We still have to wear masks, but that's about it.

Last weekend some of the teens from church went on a picnic:





Then, on Sunday church reopened. Two of Asya's friends came home with us afterward. We stopped to take photos in the flowers on the way. Pictures don't show how beautiful it is right now.



We've been seeing a lot of my favourite birds. Usually they only fly over too high to really see, but one day Will and I saw a pair down low on the power lines. Then Bogdan and I saw another one the next morning right in front of our house. And today they were swooping over the flowers in the field. That was extra amazing: all their colours, plus the colours of the wildflowers!


Our friends found a baby crow:

And some other random photos:


Lavender!