Monday, November 11, 2013

Stepnogorsk -- Balalpan

We have visited this place twice before.  But it was always later in the day when the younger children come.  This time, they asked us to come early enough to meet their older group.  These people are age 18 and over.  They have the mental age of an 8 or 10 year old.  They were very pleased to perform for us.
This young man sang a solo for us.

They have been practicing with their "instruments".  They are soda bottles with rocks and sand.  Their music teacher has taught them good rhythm.

Then, we opened the box with the new music instruments.  It only took us about a year to figure out how to get these ordered!  We're so glad we finally figured it out!
They so enjoyed getting the new instruments and using them.  And we enjoyed it too!

Some of them had memorized poetry to recite to us.

Some of the crafts they've been working on.
Our friend, Nastassia is from Stepnogorsk.  We are happy she could go with us.

These very dedicated teachers bless the children's lives.


Bishkek -- Again! Wheelchair Development and NRT Follow-Up

We really didn't expect that we'd get to go back to Kyrgyzstan so soon, if ever.  But since we had the Thalmans, we wanted to have them help with meeting about a possible wheelchair training there next year.  We met with the state secretary and several of his assistants.  We all had name tags on the table.  Our side was in English, and the side facing out was in Russian.
We think it was a very productive meeting.  One of them remembered that the church had delivered some wheelchairs to Kyrgyzstan in the past.  They also took us to tour their rehab facility and repair shop.  They make prosthetics and orthotics there too.  It was very interesting.

This is a hand crank chair that they use in the rehab center.

They have made this for someone to use to get around.  The handles have rubber caps on the end to use to push yourself along.  It's quite creative.

Here's their version of a potty chair.
This shop is where they assemble parts for wheelchairs and make repairs.
This little boy showed us his exercises in the rehab room.
This man is practicing using his new leg in the rehab room.

Their equipment is dated, but they're doing the best they can.

And Elder Thalman has made another new friend.


Later we visited the Maternity Hospital in Bishkek.  This is where part of the training was done in September.  The doctors from Utah wanted to provide some equipment to this hospital.  It turned out that there was enough funds in the budget for five suction devices.  Our translator, Jyldyz, had made all the arrangements, so we were able to fulfill this request.
No fathers are allowed into the hospital.  They have a window to pass food through to their wives.

And they let us visit the babies.

And they showed us the labor rooms with the equipment donated by the church.

And on the way home, we made some new friends from China at the airport in Almaty.  They needed a little help with the waiter.  Good thing we know "Restaurant Russian"!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Last "Linger Longer"

We had an overnight in Astana after we finished in Atyrau.  When we went to church that morning, we were pleasantly surprised to find some new stuff!!
Wow, we have a piano!  And chairs!  And a water dispenser!  And white boards that won't fall down and smash a child. 
Simple pleasures!
It was our last Sunday of the month, so it was time for another pot luck "Linger Longer."  And we had the Thalmans with us.  So they got the opportunity to share some of their experiences on their mission to Cambodia and now doing the wheelchair trainings for the past several years.  Also President Gibbons was there.

It's great to be in a small group where we all have to pull together.


Atyrau Wheelchair Training and Distribution

Our next stop was a town in the western part of Kazakhstan.  We first visited here in September of last year.  It was nice to see some familiar faces.

These are the trainers that came from Utah.

Our friend Pavel from Uralsk.  Love his shirt!

They had a great ramp for the practice.
These boxes are to be sent to Uralsk.  It was fun sorting them out.

Finally, on the third day, we can distribute the wheelchairs.  Once the people realize that the training is for safety and not just an obstacle of paperwork, they get the spirit of the training.


When this lady came the last day.  She'd had her hair done and looked beautiful.  She was so happy to have her new wheelchair.


This man has had his wheelchair for 30 years!

This is our friend, Sister Orton.  She's taking a little rest.  She and her husband live in Atyrau and helped us immensely to get this project taken care of.

Then the TV crew showed up to see what was happening.

At the end of the day, we walked across the Ural River from Europe into Asia for dinner with the Thalmans and Ortons.