Monday, April 14, 2008

Saturday and Sunday Morning

I just read Jesse’s post about our trip into Shymkent and the day that followed. I must add a few editorial comments…

As for the SARS family: oh my gosh, not only was it a complete invasion of my personal space but they all had on surgical masks. All I could think of as I’m standing there holding my breath is, where is that antibiotic I packed?

As for the translations story: Keep in mind that the topic at hand during that 4 way translation fiasco was the health of the child. The single most important conversation we’ll have the entire trip! And the reason she spoke in Kazakh was because she thought our translator should know Kazakh. She added a layer of unnecessary stress. The next day she came into the room speaking perfect Russian. I’m telling you… it’s impossible to make this stuff up!


The BH Director told us, actually told Zhenia, we could not come on Saturday to see the baby. Zhenia calls Nurshai and tells her what the Director said. A few minutes later Zhenia’s phone rings and he says, “We’ll pick you up at 8:30a.m.” It’s good to have connections. We spent about an hour with him and then he fell asleep in Jesse’s arms. His nap time is 10:00 a.m., so it was right on time.

We’re guarded with what we can say about him in this forum. We are doing our best to follow the rules and do everything possible to get our son home quickly. What I can tell you is he’s cute! He’s Kazakh, which is an Asian look; he has brown hair and brown eyes. His skin is light. He has two bottom teeth and a few coming in on the top. He has big cheeks. Our favorite feature so far… he’s really ticklish. It’s not hard to get a smile from him.

Note: we’re finding there are many ethnic groups living here. It appears the slight majority are Kazakh. There are also Russians (light skin and hair) and Uzbeks and Turks (darker skin and hair). When I proudly showed a picture of Lana and Connor to the government official, she was surprised that Lana was Russian. She said,” she’s so dark.” We always thought Lana looked a lot like our neighbor Jessica Camardo (Italian) – come to think of it, maybe Joe did take a little excursion to Russia in 2002?

The big treat today was our dinner plans with Yuliya and Jon-Paul. We thoroughly enjoyed the dinner and ENGLISH conversation. My food was great. A steak with sour cream, mushroom, onion sauce and mashed potatoes. Jesse ordered chicken which was good but had bones in it. We have not found a boneless skinless chicken dish yet. (Spoiled Americans).

We bombarded Yuliya and Jon-Paul with questions, not to be rude but we want to learn about the inner workings of the country. Right now it’s like trying to judge American life after spending a week in downtown Chicago, not a true picture. There were many topics discussed and I’ll tell you about them in parts.

Today I want to tell you about the medical practices/procedures. When a woman is pregnant and ready to deliver she goes to the maternity hospital. As soon as she is checked in she’s locked (yes locked) into a room for 10 days. There is a small window in the door for her husband or family to speak with her or to pass food. The husband is not allowed in the room, nor does he want to be in the room. I guess culturally the men don’t want anything to do with the birth of the baby. (After my labor experience Jesse doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing! Joking). When I ask why, Yuliya said they believe it keeps things sterile, yet the sheets are often stained. (Both of their children were born in US).

They described a time when their son was sick and had to go to hospital. Yuliya and their son were in hospital and unable to leave. Jon-Paul would have to come to lobby area of hospital and call up on the cell phone and wave to them three stories up.
They also said when you’re in the hospital and need medical supplies the family buys everything and brings it to the hospital. The doctor may tell you to buy bandages, needles, medication and you bring it to the hospital. Hopefully the family can afford the things you need.
Keep in mind this is the way of life here. I’m sure it’s frustrating and hard, but it’s just the way it is. Many don’t know other ways… good or bad.


Right now it’s Sunday afternoon and we don’t have plans. I think today we’ll figure out our laundry options. We’re told the hotel has a laundry service, but considering the towels they provide could be found at Home Depot right next to the sand paper I’m a little nervous about giving them our clothes.