Friday, June 20, 2008

How Fresh is Fresh?

Fresh Milk
(That's not pineapple juice but it was fresh squeezed)

The other evening I was sitting out on the bench outside of our building eating sunflower seeds with Joshua and some of the other kids when I noticed a lady I didn't recognize. She came out of our building and then went into the adjoining building carrying a large bag. Later, she came out and asked Anya, one of our neighbor girls, when her parents would be home. After she left I asked Anya who she was. (It's OK to be nosy in Ukraine. I think it's actually encouraged.) Anya told me that the woman comes from the village across the river to sell milk from her cows.

The next evening I saw the same lady as I looked out our kitchen window. I decided I'd see if the milk she was selling was any good. I ran downstairs, but she had already left. I enlisted the help of Anya and our neighbor Oksana to try and track her down. We ran off through the dark and were able to find the lady at the next building. For a small price, she parted with a 1.5 liter plastic bottle filled with fresh milk. Not knowing what else to say, I asked in Ukrainian if the milk was indeed fresh. She assured me that it was and was in fact still warm as it had just come straight from the cow less than thirty minutes ago. That's pretty fresh.

After chilling the milk I was pleasantly surprised by the somewhat sweet creamy flavor. We've had some bad experiences with milk and the usually less than tasty flavor of store bought milk. You can see one of my previous posts to read about that by clicking HERE.

Now Reesa, the milk lady, delivers milk to our door on what ever days we need it for a lot less than it would cost us in the store. She comes in the evenings around 10:00PM after she milks the cows and always assures us that the milk is still warm from the cow. Edna and I think we've actually seen her grazing her cows down by the river. Edna wants to ask her if she can pet one of her cows.

Grazing by the River

Today we were sitting down on the playground eating sunflower seeds and watching the kids play when our neighbor Olya came and sat by us. She had a bag with her so she put it by our feet before she sat down. We started talking about the normal things like who was doing what and who had a job where, when Olya's bag suddenly sprung up off the ground. This caused Edna to suddenly spring up off of the bench. Olya started laughing as Edna looked at the bag that seemed to be twitching. She said, "Жива риба!" (live fish). She opened the bag to show us and Joshua, who had decided to check out what was making the bag jump around, what was inside. Several sets of eyes peered out at us. Olya promised that she would smack them on the head and then fry them up for us later.

Olya, Joshua, Alyona, and Maryana
Olya, Joshua, Alyona, and Marianna on the far left

True to her word, Olya called us over to have some late night fish and snacks with her after Reesa made her milk delivery to both of us. After downing a glass of the warm bovine juice, Joshua played with Olya's granddaughters, Marianna and Alyona, while we ate the now fried, but still very fresh, fish. He decided to pass on the fish. Just a little to fresh for him. Joshua does his best to help Olya out when she has her granddaughters over. The two cousins can be a hand full. Joshua is spending the night next door with them so that he can help keep them in line for Babusya Olya. We are thankful that he has a Ukrainian grandmother so far away from his real grandmothers in the U.S. We feel that God has truly blessed us here in Ukraine.

All this to say that I now know how fresh, fresh can be. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Joshua Thinking About the Fish
"Those things were just looking at me about an hour ago."


Ági said...

Hi Greg & Edna,
It is so good to see you successfully adopted into that sooooo different culture. I hope and pray that God is meeting all your needs and that He is protecting you from all attacks. I'm much blessed that you are serving there.
We are doing great, we love being here in Murrieta at the Bible College. God has been so faithful in our trials. He always is, isn't He?
Much love
Mike & Agi

Conor & Koren said...

I think you guys ROCK! Conor thinks you eat too many sunflower seeds.
Love you guys!

Greg & Edna Silva said...

Mike and Agi,
It's good to hear from you and know that you guys are doing well in California. Maybe one day we can make it to a conference there. We would love to see you. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Thanks. You guys rock too. Tell Conor he's just jealous because he can't crack seeds as fast as a Ukrainian (I'm still workin on my technique). So is that a bad thing that I don't leave the house without a bag of seeds in my pocket? Edna gave up trying to crack 'em and just eats the shell and all. Smachno!