Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Need A Vacation

The last couple of weeks have been….I don’t even know a good word for it…. difficult, wearisome, tiring.  George had to make 5 trips to our regional capital to get our registration to live in Ukraine.  Each time he had to wait for hours before the bureaucrat (oh, I mean “public servant”) would take the time to sign a paper, tell him to go get another stamp, or come back and pay tomorrow.  To make matters worse, our van had some strange wheel noise which George had checked out and it proved to be bearings in very bad condition.  We were advised to not drive it at all.  It would take two weeks to get the part in.  So George had to ask a friend to take him all these times to Uzhgorod.  

Our internet modem died so we’ve had very spotty to no internet for the past week.  Now that we have a new modem it still isn’t working properly.  Ugh…

We had our outside wall to the corridor of our apartment building insulated to hopefully stop the growth of mold on our walls.  It was supposed to take one week and took two weeks.

We were supposed to have left on Wednesday to travel to Kiev and beyond.  Because the part for our car didn’t come in when they thought it would, we are having to delay our trip until Friday.  Hopefully the part does arrive on Thursday and the van can be in good working order.  We planned to visit good friends in Kiev and George arranged meetings with various people interested in church development.  Everything had to get pushed back and rearranged.  The landlord for an apartment we reserved in Kiev became problematic and is charging us extra for not arriving when we originally expected to.   It’s going to be about a 12 hour drive to Kiev and we’re praying the roads aren’t too bad.  The roads in our region are terrible following the winter but maybe the main road to Kiev will be better.  I’m just not feeling very optimistic.

It’s been one of those weeks when one problem piles on top of another.   It’s one of those weeks when we really want to get away.  …And hopefully we will…come end of May.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Taken for Granted: Water

Before I lived in Ukraine I never gave a thought to water.  I drank freely from the ever-flowing tap.  I took a shower whenever I wanted to.  Living abroad is good for recognizing the things that much of the world lives without - such as clean, running water.

In our town, there is running water for five hours every day.  For the remaining 19 hours the taps are dry.  There are theories as to why this is the case and most likely it has something to do with the poor state of the water pipes.  So much water is lost through the old, leaky pipes that the city has decided to ration everyone's water to 2 hours in the morning, 1 hour at noon, and 2 hours in the evening.  Just imagine having to structure your life around when there is water - taking showers, cleaning clothes, washing the dishes, mopping the floor, flushing the toilet.  Some people deal with this inconvenience by storing water in the bathtub and filling up buckets near the toilet.  Others, us included, get more sophisticated by installing a water tank and water pump.  The tank is filled during the 5 hours of running water and the pump provides the taps with a constant flow.  It's a blessing that is easy to take for granted.  (And we're not even talking countries where water is carried from a well or worse.)

So, now that we have "running" water, the next step is to clean it.  Some local people drink the water from the tap, even without boiling it.  But we've heard enough stories to be more than leery.  Hepatitis, typhoid, parasites, amoebas.  As a safeguard, our drinking water is processed through an expensive Amway water treatment system.  We change the filter once a year and after looking at this past year's filter, I'm not taking my glass of clean drinking water for granted.
I don't think I need to tell you which one is the new filter! :)