Thursday, October 7, 2004

Potties and Culture

This morning when we arrived at the baby house, the children were having a snack of yogurt.  Some are more adept with the spoon than others!  Some had more on their faces than in their stomachs.  After they were finished, they were herded into the bathroom for potty time!  They all sat on these tiny little tin pots (each one had their name on it) while the caregiver sang to them, I guess some Kazakh potty song.  Some of them scooted around the room, while sitting on the pots.  It was sooo cute I just couldn't stand it.  The caregivers probably thought I was an Americanski Nutski for taking a picture of the children going to the bathroom, but it was too precious to miss.  I decided it was better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission, so I fired away.

It was very chilly today, so we stayed inside.  David brought the laptop and we all watched "Finding Nemo" in the playroom.  Some of the babies were interested, but I think the caregivers were more enthusiastic about it than they were.  The Spanish family's 6 year old son especially liked it.  I think he's probably seen it in Spanish before.  Because we didn't have our daily walk outside, and it was warm in the room, several of the babies nodded off on the floor.  One little girl fell asleep while swinging on a little baby swing.  We can't have them sleeping at the wrong time! so the ladies were saying "dzhr! dzhr!" to get them to wake up.  Well, we all know how happy a sleepy baby is when woken up.  As soon as the lunch tray arrived, though, they woke up pretty quickly.  We all wanted to stay and watch them eat, but the caregivers shooed us away.  We're too much of a distraction, I guess!

During our lunch break, Aida took us to a small museum devoted to the memory of Ilia Zhansugurov ... a man who dedicated his life to the preservation of Kazakh culture and who believed in the education of Kazakh children.  He was a prolific writer, composer and poet.  He was unfortunately executed during the Stalinist purges, but his legacy lives on in TaldyKorgan. 

Aida seems to be feeling better today, although she still wore her mask.  In the afternoon, after the museum, we brought the laptop again, to finish Nemo, and also brought a Baby Einstein DVD for the children to watch.  No plot, no story, just music and colorful pictures.  The kids were all pretty active this afternoon ... they must have had good naps.  David and I spent a good part of the afternoon tickling and tossing and rassling.  One little boy, Nury, reminds me of Dick Butkus a little .. he's such a tough boy, and is going to be a good linebacker for some team someday.  Either that or a sumo wrestler.  He's got a hot temper too ... loves to throw himself on the floor and yowl.

The caregivers had them dancing at one point ... and doing a conga line at another.  The first kid would fall to the floor, and all the others would pile on right behind.  It was hysterical. 

We called our new American friends, Christy & Cory, to meet us for dinner, and we had some really good "Lagman", which is a Kazakh noodle, meat & vegetable dish.  It was delicious!  Aida came to pick us up when we were done, also to make sure that the bill wasn't "exaggerated" for the foreigners.  We walked through the main square of TaldyKorgan, which is lit up like a Christmas tree.  All the buildings are lit up with various shades of green or blue.

Now we are up past our bedtime ... tomorrow night there is going to be a "presentation" at the Hessen Pub ... a German man is going to reveal his newest brew.  I am trembling with anticipation ...  Until tomorrow!!

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