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Thursday, December 02, 2004


1 December in Kyiv

Today was packed full of experiences unlike any ordinary day in Australia (or here for that matter).
It started at 7:00am when I forced myself out of my sleeping bag to get dressed. I pulled on my jeans over my long-jons to find the bottom half were frozen solid. I managed to stuff my feet in my boots and lace them up before my fingers froze. I grabbed my bag and trudged off up the hill to the nearest Metro. One stop, one change of line, 4 stops and then catch a bus to the apartment. Aaaahhhh a nice warm shower, then I hit the computer. Stacks of emails (most will have to wait) and a monthly update to write. It all took longer than I expected, so I rushed out and caught a taxi instead of a bus to the bus station. That cost 15 times more than normal (about $4) which irked me (but you don't want to be late to a funeral). The minibus to Rzh took almost 2 hours so I was late - but so was the funeral in getting started - about 45 minutes. So I stood round slowly losing the feeling in my toes.
The funeral was for Inga and Oksana's father. The two girls have been regular at church and youth group for about 3-4 months. As far as I am aware they have not yet decided to repent and make Jesus their Lord. Inga is 20 and was very brave-faced for the day. Oksana, 15, was really emotional. I really hurt for her.
The church service is a priest chanting and a chorus answering. It sounds doleful. He walks around waving his incense and different people light candles. That lasted about 45 minutes. Then we walk behind the truck up the hill to the the cemetery. Here the family say their last goodbyes before the lid is nailed onto the coffin and lowered into the grave. After this I was able to to give Inga and Oksana a short hug and tell them we loved them and were praying for them. That's all I got to say to them, but it was worth being their for the day. Love is the ultimate tool in spreading the Gospel.
It was after this that I realised I hadn't eaten all day (I think the worms were fighting). So I bought some yoghurt and biscuits and jumped on the next minibus back into Kyiv. I fell asleep on the bus and arrived back at camp PORA at about 5pm.
I then met up with a friend and her Uni friends and took my NZ flag to walk around Maidan (the main square). Lots of people stopped me for photographs and some for an autograph.

We decided to go inside for some tea and I had to wait in line about 15 minutes to use the public toilet. After meeting and chatting with another friend, I was heading back to camp, when I met up with some of yesterday's flag bearers.They talked me into going with them for food (free food in the City Council Chambers). It took ages. On the way I stopped to take a photo of police in riot uniforms. Pashtet (like pate') is not my favourite, so I lost my appetite quickly.

Finally I made it back to camp and got talking to some people round a fire. What are you doing in Ukraine? etc. Was good Ukrainian practice for me and some English practice for some of them.

Then joy of joys - the camp commandant came over and said I should sleep in the big tent with the others. A double walled, heated tent. Like moving from the outhouse to the penthouse!
And this is where I am, writing this lengthy blog. Must go to sleep (nearly 2 am), back to Ukrainian lessons tomorrow.
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