I'm not sure if this interesting to you, readers, or not but I'm going to continue to journal the remainder of the trip for my own record and reflection. It changed my life and challenged me to the core.
This morning dawned bright and early as we headed to the baby house in Karakastak. It was a LONG drive but the countryside was beautiful. We saw donkey carts, horses, yurts, and more. The mountains were gorgeous. The poverty was evident.
Once we arrived, we went to the director's office and were introduced to her and to the doctor. We brought many bags of donations and then spent some time going through them. They were obviously grateful for the items.
After that, we were lead upstairs to the baby area. We spent some time with a little boy who is waiting for his family's court date (note: they are now there and we are praying that all goes well!!!). We also met a little boy who just had surgery. Then I spent some time with Ilosha - a little boy born with a cleft lip and palate. The lip has been repaired - very nicely - but he wouldn't let me see in his mouth. He was a sweet little guy about 22 months old. I enjoyed playing and interacting with him. Others held some of the babies and played with the toddlers. What beautiful little ones. They called us all, "mama," & "papa." Breaks your heart to hear their cries. They are, for the most part, very understimulated - amazing how the love and care of a family changes their lives so drastically. Most of us on the trip have seen that to be true in our own families.
After leaving Karakastak, we went to lunch and then for some sightseeing. We visited a monument, a park and cathedral, and Kok-tobe (a mountain overlook). I really enjoyed the park and cathedral as I had not visited it on my previous trip to Kazakhstan. It was so beautiful! I enjoyed Kok-tobe except that we took the cable car up and I did not enjoy that part even a little. :) Andrew had tried to convince we previously to go on it and I had declined but I was a good sport and went with the team. :) It was terrifying. Once up, I enjoyed the stunning views and having an opportunity to do a bit of shopping!
After a full day, we went back to our house and had a wonderful meal of manty (meat dumplings), salads, and bread. I went to sleep only to be awakened by serious stomach and intestinal pain at 2:30 in the morning...
To Be Continued
(NOTE: My camera battery died this day so all of my pictures were taken by others. I'm working to find them and hopefully add them in - I don't think they have been uploaded yet.)