A Travellerspoint blog

Under then over

Since I have no idea when I last updated, and I'm now sitting in Kiev, waiting for my flight to New York-I'll just account for the last 24 hours or so.

Yesterday we had a day off (kind of). We went by Magic Bus to the catacombs outside Odessa city. We had a tour of the underground museum where the dissenting party from the Nazis built an underground city. The catacombs crawl beneath the city outskirts and all the way to the center.

People built a hospital, water well, radio room, artillery room and bedrooms underneath the city by carving out circuitous tunnels in the limetone beneath. It was freezing down there, very narrow and dark. There were inscriptions on the wall from the 'party line' and carvings like in a cave. Eventually, there were battles underground too. The partisans won in the end but many did not live to see Victory Day. Those that died are buried down there-creepy.

Above ground, we had a walking tour of Odessa's port and famous boulevard, Potamkin steps and famous buildings. We stopped a few times for photos, coffee and to gaze at the Black Sea.

We saw a lot of new developments, luxury apartments, renovations etc. I'm sure it will all look very different in a year.

Back to the hotel to rest-and out for an early dinner with the mission coordinators. Although the pace of dinner was slow due to translations, we got a lot of work done in that beautiful room. There was a built-in bookshelf and old fashioned appliances (thermometer, fan, calculators). We gave and received gifts...ask me about the ones I got sometime.

We met with volunteers (Dina and Sol) back at our hotel after a long stroll down the boulevard at night (with Nicolay of course, our strongman!) they shared their work they've done for the past year in Odessa by photo-hard lives to see, the people are truly living in another world.

Time to fly up!

Posted by LeaStoneB 02:00 Archived in Ukraine Comments (0)

Chabadniks at night

We were at one of the two only functioning synagogues in Odessa last night. Despite having a Jewish population of nearly 40% of the population of the city in the past and approximately 70 synagogues...there we were!

Needless to say we saw many people we had seen before. There a few incidental consultations there-a child that had just had a rather large seizure (the whole congregation seemed concerned for him) and another that was losing/pulling her hair.

There was a men's choir there from Zurich who sang on the beema for about forty minutes before the service started. Thank goodness for Valerie (our translator) for helping understand it all!

Nicokay (our security) luckily was there to take us home-safely.

Posted by LeaStoneB 07:21 Archived in Ukraine Comments (0)

Yes we have no bananas

Out and about in Odessa yesterday, after numerous consultations-the team split and we tirelessly worked separately hoping to see as many patients as possible at the children's rehabilitation center.

They had a lot of wonderful people working there, dedicated parents and wonderful resources.

Interesting diagnoses that came through included spinal bifida, autism, hip dysplasia and cerebral palsy, epilepsy and pituitary tumor.

A lunch was held in our honor at HESED the Jewish Federation's center...older folks that sang for us. Old Yiddish songs and prayers for the Sabbath. It was touching!

More consultations in the back office at HESED-and a rest at the hotel (whew!). Followed by a walk around the center boulevard/shopping.

We picked out flowers there to give to the Rabbi and his wife.IMG_3253.jpg

Posted by LeaStoneB 07:12 Archived in Ukraine Comments (0)

Jewish Museum

There were museum cases and an actual museum across the street

There was a Jewish Heritage museum across the street from the Hesed building. Misha gave a walking tour of the artifacts there (some of it looked like my parent's house, I gotta say).

Many tracings of famous Jews in Odessa, reprints and archeological findings of Jewish signs and symbols that were uncovered-absolutely astounding. We were lucky to have a private tour-and Misha took out some things to let us handle them.

Ask me the joke about the Moyle's watch!

Photos available soon!

We are tired..did I mention our hotel is superb! Needless to say, I haven't seen much of the city yet-we'll get to it-right?

Posted by LeaStoneB 13:01 Comments (0)

Today-Day Two

Sooo tired, we met for breakfast and loaded up on coffee.

We quickly made our way to the Chabad House, a religious school for Jewish Children to attend.

Setting up rather quickly in a gorgeous computer overlooking a flower filled playground, parents and children were shuffled in (sometimes with a friend of the family, sometimes an aunt or teacher with complaints).

Incontinence, migraines and low height and weight were some of the more mundane cases we saw, along with "I am healthy, but my mom wanted me to be checked by the doctor."

We saw a set of twins with Tourette's Syndrome and a few young ones that had scoliosis.

Off to lunch at a lovely, kosher restaurant (where was that place? and those dumplings were just what we were looking for!)

Of course, a religious family asked the Dr. to check their baby right there in the restaurant, but he was finished in time to eat his Borscht-the baby was healthy.

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Hesed House

Amazing stuff here-a very large boy, possibly ballooned from steriods and essential tremor, we suspected that he was exposed to something (alcohol? medication?) but it wasn't clear and since dad's symptomology kept changing, and the documentation was so unclear (vertebrae, skin problem, headache, gall stone, bile overproduction)....we didn't know what to make of that.

Allergies, obesity and twisted testes, enlarged kidneys and urinary tract infection....

We found a VERY RARE syndrome called Proteus Syndrome which we documented like crazy and we are still sitting in the business center talking about-since it was absolutely fascinating.

We saw a little girl with stroke, brain bleed and shunt. 3 years and a half, still not walking, talking, chewing or speaking. There were some tear jerkers in there, but lots of families that were very glad to see some real help-with some real solutions.IMG_3261.jpg

Posted by LeaStoneB 12:52 Archived in Ukraine Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

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