||May 15th, 2008|
This is one of an occasional series of columns from Desiree,
serving an orphanage in the Republic of Uzbekistan, (formerly part of the USSR).
To top off the bitter cold and occasional electricity, we now are forced with trying to continue on without water! It has been two days with no water. Evidently, this is the ruling power’s way of compensating for unpaid bills (never mind that we have paid ours). That also explains the lack of electricity. It is a cruel way to treat people and I cannot see how it would be otherwise effective, save for pure punishment.
The Q orphanage continues to be without heat, so the bedridden kids upstairs spend their entire days in bed, covered with layers of blankets. The mobile kids and their caretakers crowd around the one electric heater per group. I may be wrong, but it looked to me like at least one child had frostbite on her toes. I only noticed, because a doctor was called in and the kid’s shoes and socks were pulled off. It did not look good.
News is that 22 kids must leave the Q because they have “aged-out.” Many of those kids are ones that I have worked individually with, some for years – Marat, Olya, Qudrat, Luda , Sherzod Feruza, and so on. Please pray for these kids and their families, as the next placement (if not home) is far worse than the Q.
The fact that kids will be moved dictates the parents are notified. This has given us the opportunity to meet with a few parents and encourage them to take their kids home. Sadly, so far, we have no takers, but continue to hope for change. In one case, the parents have not told their children at home that they have an older sister. I spent considerable time telling the parents how capable this little girl was and though they were interested, they explained that they live in a one room flat; mother father and three children. Bringing another child in would not work unless they had a bigger place. Let’s see what miracles can happen in that family as we pray for accommodations!
The Q gave us permission to bring in milk, formula and eggs – so this is a HUGE answer! If we were not given the go ahead with this, I am not sure how I would have responded. Feeding them must take priority. The challenge, despite finances, will be managing distribution and ensuring that the kids are getting what we bring in. Basically, we have to hand-carry it all in every time, cook the milk (because it must be warm) and distribute it to 80 some kids ourselves. We will hard-boil the eggs ahead of time. It’s all doable, but will take great effort. It always amazes me though that when something good is offered, how difficult they make it to be received. The eggs for example, must come with a certificate of quality and freshness. How that will be handled I am not sure – perhaps my artistic abilities will be put to some use.
The word here for a drug addict is “Narcoman,” but they use it for alcoholics, too. It’s a word used often, despite the opinion of many that since we are predominantly Muslim, we have no alcohol and drug problems. It’s just not the case. (Forgetting the fact that what was once the Great Silk Road is now the Great Opium Road). Any tourist, upon sightseeing is sure to see the men, splattered alongside the roads, passed out and oblivious. Sad to say, I have become too accustomed to such sights.
Another sight that is common here is “remont,” a term that has no equivalent in English. Remont, akin to remodel, is more a way of life here than a change in environment. Home is where the heart is. Remont is tearing the whole thing down and building something better. Remont is unending, for even as it is finished, a new remont will begin. Currently, every one of my neighbors’ homes is in a state of remont; the hammering beginning at 6:30 and ending sometime after dark. The construction workers sleep on site, amid mud bricks, concrete rubble and dirt.
What if all this remont could take place within: a demolishing of forged beliefs, shoddy materials, emotional defenses, and damage? What if externally there were minimal signs of fresh paint, but internally, for eternity, people were touched – broken and damaged, they were accepted, adored, welcomed home? How better a foundation built on solid rock, unchanging: a wounded heart, scarred, but filled with peace rather than the manifestation of a synthetic palace, vacant and passing. One to me flamboyantly says: “Look what I did!”
The other says, majestically: “Grace.”
sponsored by Uzbekistan and Humanity, Inc
(in partnership with People International - www.GoPeople.org)
All contributions can be sent to:
Uzbekistan & Humanity Inc
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4224