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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some of the culture around us

We went for a walk the other night with the american sister missionary that has lived here for 10 years so she gave us an incredible history lesson and tour of the area where we are staying here.

This is an old clinic from soviet times. Doctors are lower/middle class here. The best paying professions are lawyers, politics and higher government officials
people just work on their property when they can so buildings can be empty for years and years and years. They just slowly work on them as they can.

homes/structures here are poorly built so things do not last. Everything is done out of cement so all the plumbing is on the outside of most of these buildings.

Much of the culture and habits from the soviet union carry over here. In soviet times, you were supposed to keep to yourselves and not draw attention to yourself and it still seems the people are very private here. They still put up big walls around their homes or property....IF they have them, which most do not. Most people live in big flats/apartment buildings. The banks do not do loans for homes because technically the government owns all the land so even if you build a home on the land, you only own the home, not the land.
These are the typical apartment buildings that most people here live in. Since they just own the apartment and not the structure of the building, no one takes care of the hallways or outside areas of the buildings.

This apartment building has no running water so the people have to go to the parking lot to get their water.
This is a house that looks like an old castle. Someone has been working on it for over 10 years.

it is rude to look people directly in the eye as you pass on the street unless you know them.

the evening is a popular to stroll and lots of women were carrying flowers they had picked because if your flowers or fruit grow over your wall than they are public property

surrounding the university here we saw all these properties (I forgot the name) which in soviet times were plots of land given to the miners here that worked for the government. the people who were given these would plant gardens on them and visit them to take care of their food.

These are like second homes here, where the family will come picnic on the weekends and garden, because they have no yards where they live in apartment flats. They are very small plots of land and they are right next to eachother.

The stray dogs and cats are everywhere because people can not usually afford to feed their children let alone a pet. Although she told us some families are now starting to keep cats in the homes now that they can feed their children. We walked past two dogs eating a cat they had killed in the street.
the head of the R moffia still owns a big mansion/estate here right by where we are staying. The big brewery over here was owned privately and the R moffia wanted to buy it so when the president said no, suddenly he "disappeared" and then now the moffia owns the brewery.

pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way here. You have to be VERY mindful where you are walking or you could get hit.

We are getting an amazing deal on our apartment here! It is only $30 a night, and they even come and clean it for us and change the sheets and things. They always put their pillows up in this T.P. shape when they make the beds, even the orphanage had this in Mia's bed.


  1. SO interesting- all of that. Thanks for sharing your tour with us!

  2. So interesting. How great that you had this opportunity to learn and understand more of where Mia is from. Makes you grateful to be an American too!

  3. I am interested to know what region you are in (we are adopting from the same country you are it looks like).

  4. Kecia, Thank you SO much for this post. I was mesmorized reading about the culture & seeing the pictures-- So unbelievably sad that people live this way.
    I think it is wonderful you both were able to see Mia Kareen's culture & heritage.
    Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with all of us
    prayers & love

  5. What a great tour - for you and for us! :) Regarding property... at least there they are up front about the govt owning the property! Here in the US, we pretend we "own" our property, but ever since the advent of the property tax, we do not; land can be paid for but still forcibly seized if taxes aren't paid. Boo! But enough politics, lol. Hoping there are some cool missionaries where we are going too!!

  6. Very interesting - going to the parking lot for water! Wow - the things we take for granted! I just booked a hotel room and was bummed that the pool isn't open yet - we are spoiled.

  7. It amazes me how many things we take for granted in the US. Thank you for letting us have a glimpse inside another world.

  8. i just caught up on your last few posts and i am so happy that you are getting to stay! thank you so much for sharing this journey....i had tears as you were describing mia's room and as you were telling about the lady thanking you with kisses over and over. happy tears, sad tears, lots of tears today!