Sunday, January 20, 2013

We Made it Through Another Week!

Things are changing around town these days.  The Christmas and New Year's decorations are coming down.  We still have the Chinese New Year coming up, but I'm not sure when that is.

On Monday we were able to help the Elders do some shopping and find some things for their apartment.  It takes us some extra time to get anywhere by bus on a good day.  But if it's an extra cold day, or the timing is just right, it will take longer. 

Monday evening we had a FHE across town.  After we got home from the shopping, we headed back to go to FHE at a member's home in Highvill.  It is usually about 45 minutes to get there by bus (10 or 15 by car), but this night it took about 90 minutes.  The traffic was slow, the weather was cold and the bus was crowded!  We had to push our way through to get out of the door when we finally reached our destination.

And, we have discovered that they have set up a bus stop on our street right in front of our apartment building.  Lo and behold, bus 17 comes down our street now, so we don't have as far to walk to catch it or to ride it home.  We're just not exactly sure of the rest of its route.  We'll have to take a trial ride one of these days.

We had our English Club as usual on Tuesday and Friday nights.  We really enjoy meeting the people who come and want to practice English.  And we practice our poor Russian on them too.  We had some people come this week that had been coming to English last year but had stopped coming. 

And we spent quite a bit of time working on paperwork and reports.  I was going to say we got them done, but we never seem to be done!

So, we were able to get some projects ready to close this week.  We were able to get some computers for two organizations in town that work with disabled adults and their families.  Alan calls the one lady the "Sheep Lady" because she invited him to go to the animal sacrifices a few months ago (our translator calls her the "Cheap Lady".)  We've visited these offices several times but I don't recall ever seeing the accountant smile before.

  This man is the director of the Organization of Handicapped People in the Almaty area of Astana
The "Sheep Lady" is the Director of the Organization for Handicapped Persons in the Sari-Arka Region of Astana

The accountant is happy!

This hair salon is part of the organization.  Alan has had his hair cut here twice.  It is a very small place, with no running water.  They would like to expand this place and teach others to do hair.

This is a "tailoring shop" next door to the hair salon. 
This is the sewing lady.  She plans to teach others to sew.  They want to expand this place as well and use the new sewing machine that the church has donated.

We have visited this shop before. This lady makes Kazakh costumes and hats.  She gave Alan and I each a hat that she had made.  And she remembered that we had visited her before.

I tried to get a smile out of this little girl, but no such luck!

Some of the beautiful work in this shop with traditional Kazakh design.

This is Azamat with Alan.  He has been our translator since September, but his school schedule is too heavy this semester, so he has had to resign. 

I wanted to show the back of Azamat's hat.  The tail is practically to his waist!

On our last stop of the day, we were given this little train filled with Happy New Year ornaments and candy.  I am stepping up onto the snow/ice level in front of our apartment building.  It must be aover 12 " deep.  You can see the dark stripes in the snow showing the ice levels from the previous snow storms.  In some places, after a while, they dig down to ground level.  But it is normal to just let it keep piling up deeper and deeper!   It is going to be a sloshy mess whenever it starts to melt!

And another milestone in the progress of the church.  Today we had our first Relief Society Visiting Teaching Conference.  We have visiting teaching assignments for all our sisters.  Another step along the path!
We hope everyone is healthy and happy wherever you are!

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