Sunday, November 4, 2012

Official Registration! / Stepnograd

On Monday we received the official registration for the Church here in Astana.  It was a challenging process to obtain all the necessary documents and signatures.  The elders did a great job.  And Elder Anderson and I also received permission to preach.  Also Elder Ajtaliev, so all four of our elders now have permission to teach.
Elder A. with his official certificate
Also this week, we took a road trip out to a town called Stepnograd.  It was established in 1964 by the Soviets because they set up a uranium mine.  Most of the townsfolk are of Russian descent since they were sent here to work in the mines.  Since the breakdown of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan is no longer mining for uranium, but they are mining for other precious metals. 
We went to visit a "Creative House" which provides after school enrichment activities for over 1000 children in the area.  The government provided the organization with a location and pays the salaries for the employees, but that's about it.  All of their equipment is very dated, but the leaders are very dedicated to the children and provide many opportunities for cultural growth.
 Their computer equipment is quite dated
 Some of the children with their teacher.  She had the most orangest hair I have ever seen!
 These children practiced a few English words on us and we practiced a few Russian ones with them.
Their dance practice facility.

 We walked over to their other facility and saw some of the projects they had worked on over the summer.  They are quite creative with what they can find to work with.
These children were working on water colors.  They were working on oppossums.
Their ceramic work is really good!
 This shows traditional Kazakh childhood back in the day.
 They have made all varieties of dogs and cats.

These are all kinds of monkeys and apes.

 These children are in a class learning about puppetry.

 I had to get a shot of these ancient sewing machines.  On the one below you can see the crank on the right side.  It is a hand operated one!  No electricity!

They were busy preparing costumes for something.  They love their festivals!
 These are quilt art pieces.  Very cute!
 Love these dolls!  The faces, hands and legs are old nylon stockings.

The traditional Kazakh costumes
This girl sang for us.  She is very good!
 This is the dance class room for the little ones.  They're showing us that the CD player does not work
Now for the real fun!  We were taken down to the basement to see their gym area.  Most of this equipment looks home made but it is well used!

This is the karate instructor.  He is quite a character too!  He is also a veteran of the Afghanistan war.  He teaches the boys about patriotism.  It seems that he runs a tight ship!

These boys put on quite a demonstration for us!  We enjoyed it and told them that our grandson also takes karate and that it teaches him to be a good listener!  Alan talked to the boys about being good citizens of their country.
Some of our new friends in Stepnograd!

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