As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Updated stories.... a little background information

Writing this while waiting in the Winnipeg airport for my flight down to New Jersey to visit my parents for almost 2 weeks.

Jonah (our baby) is 18!
Talked with Garry on the phone yesterday, he called for Jonah's birthday - yes, once again I am in Canada while Garry is still in Ukraine- so the plowing is finished (unless they get another 50 acres to rent for next year, Maxim says they should be getting some new land to rent.)  Thursday it was balmy and warm there while the snow was blowing here in Manitoba! However, he tells me that there is cold and snow in the forecast for next week over there, so they will need to get the door insulating finished and build the winter straw bale insulation wall in front of the cows, like every other winter.

Before I left Garry spent another two hours at the PRIVAT bank with Victor and finally got his insurance money to pay for the car repairs. It may even be enough to cover the 30 dollars for the new glass for the passenger window which Max installed before Garry drove Victor's family and me to the (Kiev) Borispol airport on Tuesday afternoon. They are off to visit cousins and friends in the US for 2 weeks. We had some excitement on the trip a flat tire and a policeman actually gave Garry a speeding ticket in the village where we finally found a sheeno montage to buy a new spare tire.

So I have debated on telling this story for the last month (I wrote it weeks ago- it happened right after Garry's parents left), Garry tells me he still feels safe in the village, although maybe a little less so. The boys have asked me why it wasn't there, because Garry told them about it over the phone. Garry says it makes the village sound bad, and would make people worry, but it really happened so..

Mid-October 2013

 You might think that power outages are the most exciting thing that happens here, but last Sunday evening we heard a story about life in the village that makes you think that it is not the laid-back, old-fashioned place in my photos.

I think I mentioned during the summer that someone has "taken over" the old collective farm in the village, they seemed to be going through legal channels to remove Pitlock - the former head of the collective farm who took over it as a private business at some point- from his assets. Pitlock has been under house arrest in the village for most of the summer, from what we understood of what was going on, for misuse of... or something. You may remember last year during the bad drought summer Pitlock did not pay everyone in the village he rents land from all that was due them for their shares. So people thought new guys in charge couldn't be any worse, anyway.

They have had guards in place at the grain storage in the village, and have been trying to find all the stuff that is on the books as having been part of the collective. (Thus the misuse of property) This part makes some people in the village nervous as Pitlock sold some things to people but didn't hand out any paperwork, and they don't want to lose their stuff. A couple weeks ago they let Pitlock's farm workers harvest some corn fields so people could be paid their shares for the year. However, they are not letting him harvest the sunflowers and the crop is going to be lost... the longer it waits in this wet fall, the less seeds in the heads, they drop out onto the ground. Rumor is that Pitlock took out a loan to plant his spring against his John Deere combine., which is about the only thing that he still has control of other than his house, in the village.
The farm workers are out of luck too, as they were supposed to get paid for the summer's work after harvest.

Anyway the story- or one of them- is that last Saturday Pitlock won a decision in court and his "guards" went to the grain storage to talk to the other guys guards around two in the afternoon. They refused to vacant the premises based on this information. Sometime during the night there was a shootout and one 25 year old man was killed from the city (some say he worked for Pitlock), afterwards the Pitlock home was also had the windows shot out and the big mean dog there was killed. No one is living there now, and at last report, Pitlock had been arrested. There were apparently a lot of police in the village that night, somewhere on the other end of the village, not too far from the girls house where I took this photo recently.

Are we any less safe here? Garry doesn't think so, we are not on their radar, although the barn we have started remodeling for the trade school was part of the collective, we did purchase shares from people in the village to buy it and have paperwork for it, although we are still trying to "buy" the land under the barn! It is said that nothing in Ukraine is really safe if someone really wants to take it...

Since I wrote this, there have been new developments, it seems Pitlock is back in charge, at least for the time being, his sunflower fields were finally harvested, and he has been driving around the village, but it seems this battle for control won't be over anytime soon, and everyone in the village are giving up on their "free garden plowing" that is supposed to be part of their share payment and hiring our guys or another farmer to plow their gardens for the winter.

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