Fast ride ahead

All of our volunteers can get one of these (customised for them) to move around while they are here with us and they are very popular even though the slopes here can be brutal. Here one of our volunteers picked some St John's wort and some origanum before heading down and back to the village.


C*nt and ass

Today we visited a village nearby (not one of our cluster of villages) with a group of volunteers to help a group of locals clear the illegal rubbish dump that started to appear at the outskirts of the village and block the road to the site to prevent access and further dumping of rubbish there.

There is a family of alcoholics in that village and they have three kids, we helped the kids with different stuff a couple of times before. Their youngest daughter is almost three I think and she looks more angelic than I have ever seen a kid looking, blue eyes, blond curls, the works.

We met her in the village's main street drawing something on the pavement with chalk. One of our local volunteers went "Wow, how cute is she!", sat next to the girl and started talking to her:

- Hello, what is your name?
- [keeps drawing] Lucia.
- Wow, Lucia [pointing at the drawing on the pavement] this is so beautiful! Well done! So so pretty! [it was just some random lines and wasn't beautiful at all, why do we feel the need to tell this shit to our kids I have no idea but punishment for lying was near]. What is it, Lucia?
- [calmly but super clearly and loudly] Rita's cunt and ass. [Rita is her 5 year-old sister].

Our local volunteers' faces (only they could understand the conversation in real time) were priceless. And we learned why a minute later.

Just one Russia away from Kim

Today a group of Russian volunteers asked me to name one thing about having a border with Russia (those 120 miles there in the north) that could make me worried and one thing that makes me happy about it.

While the first one was pretty obvious and not that interesting the second one took some time and is: if we have to be separated by only one other country from North Korea, as we are, Russia with its vast territory that allows for nine hours long domestic flights is definitely the best choice. Being "just one Russia away from Kim" as we are is much better than being say a Chile or a Belgium away from him.

Why the wings?

This is John the Baptist on the ceiling of a Romanian Orthodox Church.

I often see John the Baptist's icons in churches here and he is very often depicted with wings while unlike any other prophets.

This is the explanation apparently (copied form the internet):

As well as “the Baptist”, John is also known as “glorious prophet and forerunner of Christ”. Therefore, the presence of the wings is to symbolize John’s status as a divine messenger (in Greek “Evangelos”, from where the word “Angel” is derived). It’s worth noting that the wings of the archangels (Gabriel, Michael etc.) in icons are largely symbolic too, as they are not specifically described as having wings in the Scriptures.

But if that were all, then why aren’t the prophets of the Old Testament, or the Apostles, shown with the angelic wings of divine messenger? The answer, in the words of Jesus Christ Himself, is because “among those born of women there is no one greater than John;” moreover, he is “the culmination and the crown of the prophets”, as the hymn from the feast of John’s nativity proclaims. Therefore, St John is an especial example among the Saints of an earthly “angel” and a heavenly man. As such, he is also described as the “Angel of the Desert” in the inscriptions of icons.

Surprise us and you'll be eating in a barn

We now have both a lot of volunteers and a lot of visitors coming almost every day and we got to the point where we are running out of the sitting space at meal times. This last group of visitors that is coming at almost no notice at all will now have to do with this:

And "the bar" will get seriously busy in the evening, especially for Monday:

Fool your brain

I like how this is just a simple jpeg, nothing in this image moves (easy to see if you focus on a distance between two particular points) and all the "movement" (scroll up and down a bit to see it) is produced by our brain:

Usually these are a bit more subtle than this one.

There is hope?

Am I the only one who saw possibly a glimmer of hope right at the end of this angry, upsetting and otherwise unpleasant conversation?

I mean the ending:

Older woman on the bus: - Excuse me but you spit in my face all the time...
Very angry refugee man: - Forgive me, grandmother...