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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Trip to the Mennonite Center celebration

Victor arrived before nine am, Garry came in and made some toast to eat with jam. He had been up by four am (he'd gone to bed very early the night before at 7 pm!) and was at the barn by five to help with milking, he says it gets better everyday, they hardy need to chase the last cows into the holding area and then into the parlor now. There were about four cows who really were didn't want to get milked in the new parlor but they are getting better now. Maria was eating leftover pizza for breakfast with her tea, and Max came in just before we left and had some too.

We saw these combines in the sunflower field
on the way out of the village, trying to beat the rain, I guess
The guys were trying to get as much winter wheat planted as possible today while we (Victor, Maria, Garry and Teresa) were gone most of the day to the celebration in Molachansk. It was still too wet yesterday and there is a storm predicted overnight and Thursday, with as much as 2 inches predicted, so they may not get planting again for another week. The students were excited as we had declared a day off from school today, maybe some of the boys helped out in the field with the grad guys putting seed in the planter, most of them really like working, it seems.

 I was disappointed in one of my cheese choices on the pizzas I had made for the embassy group, I can hardly look at the leftover pizza, but it won't last long. In fact, it will be gone tonight, Max may have fed some to the wheat planting crew at lunchtime, and Maria wanted more when we got home from our excursion.

While Victor was driving, he showed Garry the sample of "German wheat" someone's trying to sell him for seeding. On Friday afternoon we had followed Victor to Dnepro to look at some to take the place of the seed wheat he rejected last week. He did not like what they had, ( more fusarium, although not as bad as the stuff he sent back) but they said they could get this seed from western Ukraine. Garry said if the rain came, they might not need any more to plant. He thought this sample looked like it had about 25% fusarium, (lots of shriveled kernels) so he wasn't thrilled with it either. It was about a two hour drive.

 Shortly after we got to the Mennonite Center everyone was invited inside for the noon meal. Garry and I ended up sitting at a table with the senator we did not meet the day before, who is from southern Manitoba and his wife, along with a couple who visited with the choir Saturday. Maria sat at our table, and Victor sat with some Orthodox priests. What a lovely meal, (I forgot to take a photo) with tables set up in three rooms, the staff did a wonderful job serving the lunch. We had salo (pig fat) starters, quite tasty, served on bits of black bread with garlic and pickle slices and parsley. Then a course of delicious self-serve borscht that was in the center of the table in a covered clay pot (they brought more when ours was empty too) and then they brought the meal course, a plate of mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw and a kind of big pork meatball for everyone.

Then everyone went outside to sit down for the program, the ambassador made an opening welcome speech, thanking the Canadian Mennonite community's work in Ukraine, in English and Ukrainian (he even mentioned us by name) and then the men's choir sang three songs on the porch. The director had to use clothespins to keep his sheet music from flying away, and it was a cold wind blowing.  Garry really enjoyed the choir and was singing along a little beside me.

Some of the participating groups were introduced and spoke about their work in Ukraine (they were all translated for the non-English speakers or into English if they were speaking in Russian so it took twice as long). We were then invited inside for dessert to warm up before the rest of the speakers would speak (including Garry). Not everyone had packed winter coats for cool weather in Ukraine.

Here is a photo of dessert. It was crepes with curd inside and a sauce over, quite sweet with hot tea to drink, which everyone enjoyed as they warmed up. It was decided to finish the program indoors, even if you couldn't see the speakers you were warm and could hear everything, the sound was really wonderful in all the rooms when the choir sang again to start things up after dessert.

A few more speakers, including Garry, and a representative of the center, which is celebrating 15 years of working in Molochansk and then the ambassador and senators got to speak to conclude the program.
Garry's speech was short and sweet

The we shook a few hands of people we had met before going home, including the ambassador, who said they had tweeted about us and their visit yesterday.

Victor had to pick up the Fords, who are flying in tonight to serve for a short time in Kirvoy Rog, and Garry wanted to see how the day had gone, so we did not stay for the evening celebration that the whole village was invited to, I hope that everyone had a wonderful conclusion to the day.

 By the time we were nearing home Garry was wondering if we had a tractor with working lights so they could keep planting and finish the field. It was 6:30 and just dark, but Garry thought he could see the wagon still in the field, as Victor drove into the village. He raced off to see how it was going while Polo happily raced inside the house when we unlocked the door. Victor left for Dnepro after turning on our furnace for the first time this fall. Maria was ready to eat (she was too polite to finish the big dinner and the dessert) so we warmed up that last pizza and got out some leftover salads from the fridge. Garry returned and was happy to report that they would finish that field in the dark. He said he wasn't hungry, but wanted to take out some hot tea for the guys, and he brought them a few slice of pizza to snack on (as he pointed out I didn't like it anyway).

One of the boys had told him something was wrong at the new barn, so he went over to check. They were busy sorting milk cows from the dry cows and heifers that they had brought in from the barnyard today with the cold weather and rain coming tomorrow. Shortly after nine pm, just after Garry went to bed, Max came in to say they were nearly done, he brought the seed wagon back to put undercover. I bribed Polo out for the night with the last slice of pizza after Max left and locked the door.

Now to make a quiz for English class at 8 am tomorrow, and it's one of the boys birthday, too. Never a dull moment.

We are supposed to have the senator and his wife we had lunch with visit this weekend on their way to the airport. Garry was a little surprised when he mentioned us in his closing remarks and even  tried to get us some more work teams to come. Not that we'd say no, if you want to come help us next spring, we have plans to expand a little more, and the BC team is coming to build a little cheese plant.

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