April Fools Day was no joke! We finally got to start delivering aid. I will let the video tell that story, however at the end of the day I returned home and Sveta had gone to work (she works at the Chausy Orphanage) and Sasha was making supper. We were having Dranikey (potato pancakes). The process is pretty simple, finely grate the potatoes, add a pinch of salt and fry in a pan with plenty of oil. Sasha said that sometimes he will add an egg but he didn’t have any on that day. Kristina and I took turns helping to grate the potatoes and Sasha fried them and served them to us with a lot of sour cream to dip them in. Simple, yet surprisingly tasty.
Later Sasha walked to the Orphanage in order to escort Sveta home. I got the impression that walking alone was fine during the day but that a woman wouldn’t be out walking alone at night. Besides Sveta and Sasha are very close and loving and I don’t think it would have occured to Sasha to let his wife walk home alone at night. The evening ended in front of the ever present TV with Sasha, Kristina and I playing dominoes while Sveta continued knitting her sweater in her usual spot, leaning against the warmth of the petchka.
This is a short video that introduces you to my families extended family.
After the concert and lunch at the orphanage several of us went to the Internet Café. This was my first trip there and as with most public buildings it was very stark. It is located in a government building where you first go to a postal wicket and pay for an amount of time, then you take your slip into an adjacent room containing 3 PC’s (2 of which were working) and a man behind a desk. The man takes the slip and signs you on to a computer, fortunately the keyboards contained both English and Russian alphabets. When you are through, the process is reversed and the lady at the wicket returns any change from unused time. It was nice to check my e-mail and feel a connection with home.
At home that evening we had a nice dinner of pasta and chicken and then walked across Chausy to Sasha’s parents home. Since you will not see it in the video (due to an operator error!) I will describe the home. It is a small wooden home (like most), no running water and outdoor facilities, but it also had a “banya” in the back yard. A banya is basically a sauna, this where the family bathes. Sasha’s father had built his own and the quality of the workmanship was quite remarkable given that he only has manual tools (no Black & Decker cordless equipment here!). There was also a small pen where they raise some chickens in the spring, a garden, some grape vines for homemade wine and of course a dog to keep watch over the yard. Sasha’s parents are wonderful and right away I am given a gift of 2 pairs of home made woolen socks for my wife and I. Sasha’s father drives a bus in Chausy and all evening long I am asked comparative costs in Canada. They want to know how much it costs for gas & electricity, how large is our home, how much land do we own etc. The translations are difficult but fortunately numbers are the same in both languages. The Russian/English dictionary got a work out that night!