First a commercial.
We have a Nordic/Baltic/East European newsletter online. The last issue was dated January 22, 2009. You can see it online at http://kubik.org/ucgee/January%2023,%202009%20newsletter.htm
If you'd like to get a copy of it (about once a month) come to you automatically, go to the JOIN OUR MAILING LIST box at the bottom of the last newsletter and type in your email address. You can see what we send out to about 100 people right now.
You can see all of our past (just three so far) newsletters at www.kubik.org/ucgee.
And now, back to our blog.....
At 10 am Robert and Elita take us to us to Valga, Estonia-- just across the border from Valka, Latvia. The distance is about 30 miles. From here we travel the remaining 60 miles to Tartu bv bus. First, we pick up Elita at the church building where she took care of some chores with shoveling and wood. Other members came to take care of other chores.
The road is snow-packed, but Robert is not bashful about speed. We find that he has studded snow tires which grip the road magnificently. We get to Valka, cross the border into Valga, find a cash machine and get Estonian Kroons. Then to the bus station and the one and a half hour ride to Tartu. The bus makes quite a few stops and completely fills up.
We arrive in the familiar surroundings of Tartu. From the bus station by cab to the apartment where Toomas is waiting for us. We are very happy to see each other. We catch up news. His train, just across the street, leaves at 2:20 pm. I walked over with im to see him off and get right this time what platform the Tallinn train leaves from. Last year our Tallinn train experience was less than satisfactory....mostly because there was no train scheduled at that time on dark Saturday night.
We are scheduled to leave from here at 5:20 pm on Thursday evening.
Bev and I head into town to get something to eat and stop at the Georgian Restaurant which in my estimation serves phenomenally tasty food. Bev and I enjoy being with each other and our apartment to ourselves. The apartment is exceptionally clean. So, the two competing neat freaks are Toomas and Bev.
We see the mail that has come in since Johnnie was here last. There are a few subscribers and notices to pick up packages at the Post Office. I see that our Good News shipment has arrived. Our work is cut out for us. There will be much (much more than we can possibly do) before our departure on Thursday.
After dinner we stopped and picked up a SIM card for my GSM phone that I bought in Malawi a few months back. We now have a local Estonian cell phone number. This cost only $4.50 and gives us 45 minutes of air time. Good deal! Just in case you want to know, our phone number here is 372 559 21038. Give us a call if you want to try it out.
We stopped by the grocery store and picked up some food for the next several days.
On the phone we talked to Andrus Ripps. He and Katrin Kaasik are coming over dinner tomorrow night. Helga was going to come in from the country, but has not been feeling well. We'll give her a call tomorrow. We want to visit Helgi's grave (she died a few months ago), but no one seems to know where it is.
Bev and I walked back home in the with light snow falling and sloppy dark streets. It's so different from the summer where the light seems to be endless. I actually love the ambiance of Tartu, Estonia. It's really a nice-sized cozy and comfy town.
One thing that is front and center on our minds is the 2009 Feast of Tabernacles for this region. We want to make it possible for all the Latvians who want to come to make it. We want to make it affordable, yet nice. We have to really sharpen our pencils to figure out what the cost will be and how it will be covered.
Estonia has been going through the same economic downturn as the rest of the world. Tourism, hospitality business, restaurants are all suffering. We hope that a nice group of people coming over in the fall can be very attractive to hotel people we know and that a good rate can be negotiated. We want to try take look at a few places Monday or Tuesday, including out standby the Pallas Hotell.
Johnnie Lambert called me on my cell phone and we talked a while about the mailing and all the things that have to be taken care while I'm here. Bev had two lengthy conversations with our African conatcts about our work there. We are in the finishing stages of a borehole grant valued at $25,000 and there were some details that had to be ironed out. Also, Christina Davis, daughter of elder Howard Davis is living there for the next two months as part of a Seattle University/LifeNets collaborative project. She is doing research about our educational and other projects. We like to check in our her regularly. She has started a blog at http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/davisc./1/tpod.html/ You can easily get to it from the Home Page of my Web site at www.kubik.org.
That's how our evening ended. Thanks for following along in our blog.
To Tartu! We're Home!
Sunday, January 25, 2009