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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two more interesting days

I have more to tell than I possibly will have time to write. Just hope I can catch up at some point. But not tonite, Only a half hour until the internet place closes.

Yesterday I attempted to find my great grandparents' graves. (I also needed a break from chopping vines in the heat! ) I believe I found the right section, according to the map I have, and the one Mimi has that delineates the old numbers. Which reminds me, those of you who asked me to attempt to locate graves, please let me know whether you gave me #s on the old or the new system, or if you are not sure, when you obtained those plot numberss. It's a long and odd story, which some of you proably know, but the numbers were changed several years ago.

I wanderred in the much cooler uncleared area, looking at as many stones as I could get to. But many are hard to reach, the growth is too thick, and on many the writing has been obliterated, and some are only in Hebrew, so I can't read the names or dates. But I will make another effort, and it is actually possible that we may reach thaat section before the end of the two weeks. I found another grave with the name Melmat. Nick, do you think that could be the same as our family?

Jeanna, thanks for the correction. We walk down that street almost every day (to the internet cafe, so it will be easy to recheck the street number and find the house.

It is nice to get feedback and know people are actually reading this!

Yesterday after work, we had an "action." Someone from another organization had made a banner and fliers with photos of the cemetery, and we went to one of the main squares and handed flyers out describing the project. Spent about an hour in pairs, a Russian speaker in each pair, giving them to everyone on the street we could corner. I was surprised, and so was everyone else, by the high number of people that accepted and even read them! We talked aabout it, folks here arent' used to being bombarded with advertising flyers. We actually got a few more people to join us this morning, including three boys about 12 or so who had watched us setting up in the square yesterday.

Lots of people here are puzzled, even incredulous, that we are doing this. I think it is partly that volunteerism isn't a familar concept in less affluent countries where people are dealing with more basic needs. Although I must say that I have been surprised at how affluent the city seems, lot of people with fashionable clothes, stores with fairly expensive goods. The young boys in the plaza yesterday had ipods and cell phones. I have seen many less street people here than in Boston.

Today at the cemetery I could barely work, it was so hot, and had to stay in the shade or I would get dizzy. Again, though, at lunchtime, I was pleased to see that most everyone else was also exhausted. After lunch, I dozed off in the grass in the shade, and when I awakened, about half the people in the group were also taking naps.

Miriam Taylor and Christian Hermann have arrived. They joined us for a bit in the cemetery yesterday. Miriam is originally from here, left in 1945 for Holland, then Israel, then eventually the U.S. She was instrumental in spearheading this project, and Christian, who works for an NGO in Germany, connected her with the Ukrainian organization that is sponsoring us.

This afternoon, we all met for a drink in one of the cafes in the park by our house. She has wonderful stories to tell. Her family was lucky to be saved by a Romanian hero named Provocic, who was the mayor of the city during the war. In addition to our project, she is currently working to have a plaque erected on what was his house to honor him.

Out of time, more in a day or two.

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