Saturday, December 23, 2006

This little girl Maria was a sweet little girl at Cahul Deaf School that I was abloe to speak to with my limited ASL

Sharp boy at our 2nd stop on the way to Cohul

This little girl Mia was so cute and very athletic but tiny for her age of 12.

A pair of shoes I took off a child

Friday, December 15, 2006

Moldova Mission Report Overview

I am not quite sure how to post a report on what happened the week I was in Moldova so I will give an overview and then post more detailed reports on individual points and pictures later.

Friday December 1
The day before we leave and it is extremely windy and my job for the day is cancelled. We picked up some baby dolls, gum, toys, handwarmers, etc and I finished packing. Went to sleep about midnight and was up wide awake at 4:00 am Saturday.

Saturday December 2
We leave the girls at Grandma Falk's house and Grandpa Falk and Melissa drives me to the airport. I am wearing my new Russian hat that Melissa and the girls bought for my birthday. We arrive at the airport at 10:15 am EST for our 12:15 EST flight to Atlanta. After arriving in Atlanta Brian Powell and I had lunch at Arby's and then walked through the airport and made a few final calls while waiting for the flight to Frankfurt Germany. We get on our plane and are enroute at 4:30 EST. We will arrive at 7:00am in Germany. I slept about 1.25 hours on the trip over. I slept through a lousy movie with Greg Kinnear while listening to spanish music. I woke up freezing cold and never could get back to sleep.

Sunday December 3
We arrived in Frankfurt, Germany at around 7:00 am and had about 9 hours until our flight to Chisnau would take off. Several of us decided to take the train into the city and get breakfast and walk around. We changed our dollars for Euros and headed downtown. We walked around and every thing was closed and we finally ended up at a small cafe. I had eggs with ham and mushrooms and herbs with coffee. Steve Bonnett generously picked up the tab on breakfast and we walked around the city for a short while. Nothing was open because it was Sunday. We caught the train back around 11:30am local time so we would have plenty of time to get our boarding passes and catch our flight to Moldova. We waited and at 3:30 pm local time we didn't take off as planned. There was fog in Chisnau and we would wait to see if it lifted. 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 no information and now at 5.5 hours sleep in the last 48 hours. 7:30 pm Air Moldova finally notifies us the flight had been cancelled 1.5 hours earlier. We were left looking for a hotel and ended up at the Holiday Inn Express. Not a bad deal as we got shuttle service to and from the airport, Breakfast, and double rooms for just €55 (I finally get to use that symbol € on my keyboard) The only problem was that there was 27 of us and one van with only 8 seats and a 30 minute round trip. Finally after 2 hours we arrived at our hotel. Bryan Powell and I walked to a local Italian restaurant and had pizza. Finally about 11:00 pm local time I fall asleep and get about 4 hours of really lousy sleep.

Monday December 4
We have a very nice breakfast with coldcuts, pastries, juices, etc. A day late now we head back down the Autobahn to the airport and get our new boarding passes. We get to our gate and wait for our flight. I had some great entertainment betting on which people the drug dog would tag as they got off their flight from Jamaica. I sent a postcard to the girls which still hasn't arrived (12/15). Got lunch at McDonalds and won a apple pie (they still fry pies there not like the lousy baked ones we have.) McDonalds in Germany serves beer! Our gate is moved but we finally get on our plane and at 3:30 local time we leave the not-so-friendly German state on Air Moldova. The flight is a bit more relaxed than American flights and on this short 2:30 flight we got candy, soda, meals, and more soda. The seats are more comfortable and spacious than American carriers. We arrive in Chisnau (Kish-a-Now), the Moldovans all chear and clap as we land. We wait for our visas until about 8:00pm local time and finally get through and are in Moldova. Steve Bonnett and I head to the IMB house in Chisnau while the rest of the Knoxville crew heads north to Balti. We have a nice dinner. I pull the mattress off the top bunk because I don't want to fall and get another lousy nights sleep of about 5 hours.

I am now at 14.5 hours sleep in the last 4 days but I am feeling good!

Tuesday December 5
We leave Chisnau with our van driver Sergio and our truck driver Val. We head to the south and the potholed roads get more pot-holed as we go. We arrive at our first location and we had chaos. The director of this orphanage cared about his children and it was apparent. I was outside quite a bit and played catch with the kids with my little nerf football. One boy who wasn't paying attention ran full speed into the back of our van while playing catch and nearly knocked himself out. I thought the kid was not going to get back up and I wasn't wanting to explain how I knocked an orphan out.

We finally finished up and headed to the next place. This place was dingy and kind of stunk. A gas line prevented the shoe truck from getting within 400 yards of where we needed to be so the boys from the orphanage carried everything for us. I was watching some old lady try to clean some mirrors in the room we were working in and ran out to our van and grabbed my squeegees and got to clean some glass in Moldova. We finally packed up and headed south to Cohul and our final stop. I should have gone to the bathroom before we left because it was a long haul and there is not 2 feet of smooth roads in Moldova. As my bladder got fuller the road got more pot-holed. We finally got to the Cohul Deaf Orphanage and started getting set up. These kids were the easiest of all to communicate with. I know maybe 150 ASL signs and these kids knew what I was saying. Had a really good time sitting at the back of the shoe truck and trying to sign with these kids. There was one very cute little girl named Maria that was so sweet. We finally headed to our hotel and had dinner and then onto bed. We had twin beds that were pushed together. Steve Bonnett and I shared a room. We were on the 5th floor and our room overlooked the open air market. We watched a little Romanian MTV or Hee haw or something. I can say there are plenty of loud barking dogs in Cohul but I finally got a decent nights sleep.

Wednesday December 6th
We left for our first orphanage a Russian speaking orphange with Ethnic Turks. There was a statue of Lenin that had been broken and fixed. Steve Bonnett and I got a photo with Lenin. We moved through this shoe distribution more efficiently and had a nice pastry as we left. We got to work with Nancy Russell an IMB missionairy from Maryville, TN who had stayed in FBC's mission house. We had sent a care package with Chris and Nancy about 4 years ago to David Crutchfield. I guess it is a small world.

We finished up and headed to our next orphanage which was by far the worst. The orphange smelled, the director looked like a pimp, and there was a mean nasty screaming teacher. The screaming teacher hit a child in front of me and I had to hold off from bull tackling the old bat. The place was just not very nice. I made the mistake of using the bathroom ( a small shack with a cement pad with three holes in the floor and the most foul odor imaginable. Nobody in Moldova can aim! We finally headed to our final orphanage. Steve Bonnet and I played football with a group of boys quite a while before we got started. After we finished we were served bread, kaisha (cream of wheat type cereal), hot cocoa, and apples. Leaving took about 30 minutes as the kids all wanted autographs on cards, bibles. cardboard, etc.

Thursday December 7
My birthday! We had a morning breakfast and then I went to the open air market and bought 45 kilos of bananas to give to the kids. Nicholae was one of our interpretors and I sat with him on the way to the first place. Nick is the Tae Kwon Do national champion of Moldova and Romania. Very sharp Christian guy! We got to the first place and things went smoothly. I really bonded with a little girl named Mikela who had a twin brother. They were about 8 years old. We had "chai" or tea with cookies and pastries. The orphanage director gave us each an embroidered cloth and she gave me a big bouquet of flowers.

We left for the next place and Nick gave me a beautiful handmade doily for my birthday. We had to pick up new interpretors before the next stop and time is not something Moldovans seem to worried about. I ran up to Anatoly's flat to see what it was like and thinking I could speed him along. He insisted on showing me the flat and kept saying "just two minutes." He then insisted we eat Borscht and drink Moldovan grape/cherry juice his wife made. It was all very good but the people in the van were ready to kill me. I don't know how many times I heard two minutes. We then had lunch in the van on the way to the second stop.

We then headed out of town to an orphanage that I will do something to help. Alexander Kuzu has a special place in my heart and I will share more about it later. There were only 32 kids at this orphanage. I placed socks that Annette age 5 gave me to take on a girl that was 12 and they fit. We again had coffee with bread, pastries and cold cuts. On the way back we had goats in the road, cows in the road, geese in the road, and sheep in the road or I could say there was a van in the pasture.

The last place of the day was in Cohul and went very smoothly. The kids seemed happy and we again had tea, cookies, and pastries. We headed back to the hotel and I had my seventh meal of the day and then went to bed. A very nice birthday!

Friday December 8
After such a good day I told everybody that the 8th was actually my birthday. We checked out of the hotel and then had breakfast. We headed north to the largest orphanage we would do a 441 bed facility. The Moldovan Education Minister came and addressed the children and all the big wigs from CERI were there so I was on my "best" behavior. We worked for a very long time and kept being told we were done but more kids kept showing up 441 pairs of boots is alot of feet. There were alot of great kids and Steve Bonnett and I got to put on more shoes than we had all week. The interpretor we worked with was Alena a very skilled lady who was 26 and spoke English with an American or British accent, French with a French accent, Romanian, and Russian with a Russian accent. When we finished we served "chai" again but this time there was lamb, potatoes, cabbage rolls, pumpkin rolls, cookies, beets, pork, salad, orange juice, Viva soda, etc. It was grander than a thanksgiving feast. We then headed north to Chisinau with our work week complete. My heart ached for Mia, Mikela, Maria, Micheal and the rest of the kids. I could not help but wonder where the children we would be adopting were and what they were doing or if even one of these kids were them.

Saturday December 9
Now to be American tourists. We headed down town Chisnau and changed our dollars for lei. I then bought some pisansky which are colored eggs. Easter Eggs originated in Ukraine in 600 BC. Ukraine is where we plan on adopting. I got the girls some nesting dolls. We had a special dinner and I learned that "hot chocalate" in Moldova is truly hot melted chocalate when I ordered a mug. We visited God's Design church which is pastored by a sharp young pastor Andre. I was the youngest in our group at 31 and I was about 10 years older than eveverybody at this group. I got back to the team house and could not fall to sleep until late.

Sunday Decemeber 10
I woke up at 4:00 am not feeling well and never got back to sleep. We headed to the airport and left for Frankfurt. The feeling you have as you look out the window as you are leaving such a desperate place is difficult to describe. I am leaving a bit of my heart but at the same time I want to get home so much. I am fortunate to have met a Nurse Practitioner from the Tri-Cities area in Virginia who gave me some Zofran which helped me make it home. We arrived in Cincinatti, Ohio at about 3:00 pm and made it quickly through customs. I was really not feeling well as we boarded our flight to Knoxville and only remember being startled awake as we were landing in Knoxville and asking Jamie Abbott where we were. It was so good to see the girls again and very emotional.

I will post more later on individual topics.



The second orphange

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Heading Home

We head for home this morning and my heart is torn. There are so many precious little children and I cant wait to share some pictures of the identical triplets, twins mehi and mikela, the little deaf girl \maria and of a very special girl Maya. I cannot wait to hold Annette, Hannah and Ivy again. Look forward to sharing stories, etc.

Love Steve

Friday, December 08, 2006

My New Girls?

new pics

New pics

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Number of patents issued to Islamic countries by the USPTO

I found this article tonight about patents issued to Islamic countries from 1977 to 2004. Look at the number issued over 27 years. Syria averages one every 2 years.