It has been really hot this week! Folks will say, “But you guys are from Texas!” – My reply, “But Texans have AC!” Our cafe and house have been unbearably hot the past few days – the smaller Ukrainian soviet style houses actually do really well in the summer – they are remarkably cool.
Not so with the larger multiple level houses – sauna city. Help is on the way – we have a guy from Kiev coming down tomorrow to install an AC unit in the Cafe kitchen (turns out pizza ovens make things even worse) – and also one in our house. I’ve been contemplating for the first time in our family history getting a pool – or as Abbey says, “poolul’. The river water has been fairly disgusting the past few summers, think lime green. Are missionaries allowed to have pools?
We are looking forward to progressing on our park. We received the finances last weekend, and now trying to figure out the best (and cheapest) way to get it in Ukraine. We have some friends coming to visit in July, and I think we’ll turn them into pack mules – the banks here are setting new limits on incoming foreign currency, and often locally don’t even have money. A number of times this year I’ve walked into the bank and the ladies smile and put up their hands, “No money today, sorry.” Reminder of the very real economic collapse and situation in Ukraine. Zero consumer confidence.
Ok, this was supposed to be a park update. The park is sectioned into two areas, the skatepark and the kids playground. The two will be separated by a small fence, keeping the littles out of the danger zone (hopefully).
Today I met with Arman, or at least I call him that. He’s from Armenia and runs a local asphalt company. He’s got tractors, and road equipment and is use to doing larger jobs but has agreed to help us level the property and pour a 11m x 16m foundation and asphalt pad. We spent a solid 1/2hr going over exactly our needs, and his specific steps in ensuring we don’t end up with a disaster of warped asphalt. This is Ukraine, we take nothing for granted – We agreed to the price and he will begin July 5-10th – and it will take a month as we build up and pack down (naturally letting earth settle) before putting in the pad. This, we hope will be the center piece to the skatepark, it’s not huge, but it will be very unique for our town – a smooth, durable surface for several years for skaters and roller blade enthustiasts.
Shane is working on organizing the half-pipe metal frames and assembly of various things to grind and hurt yourself on. He’s not only a skateboard guy himself (anything that looks like surfing), but weekly meets and cares for youth in our area. It will be really cool to see the skatepark come to life and see how God can continue to increase he and Jem’s influence among the students. Pray for Shane and the guys that will pull together the skatepark pieces.
The playground area has been an evolving component. At first, we were going to just buy a pre-fab playground kit – but after reviewing with some of our builder friends, we all agreed this equipment was not only overpriced (Ukraine has significant duty costs) and has not heart – it’s all cookie cutter stuff. We have agreed to allow Alyosha and Vova each to have 1/2 of the area to build some play ‘zones’ – some things to climb on, hide in, ride – all within a certain budget. I think this will cause some extra ‘heart’ and original creativity, be more special for our town and definitely more unique. It’s also sort of like the cooking or builder reality shows – it’s Alyosha vs Vova! I should video this!
So it looks like the first month, from July 5-31 will be preparing the ground and laying the asphalt. We will then hopefully have the play and skate areas materials in place to install in August and continue towards our Sept 1 open date. That’s the plan! I’m already seeing how quickly the $7k can be spent, and really want to try and keep it close to this – we can always come back next spring and Lord willing enhance various parts of it.
Thanks for checking in on the park! Pray for us, for favor, wisdom and safety.