One of the first Sochi stories to come out this week is the unbelievable state of the lodgings that many journalist found upon their arrival. You may have read some of the tweets, or seen articles in which they are compiled, like this one. The amount of money spent on these games is outrageous, upward of $50 billion (yes, that is a 'b'), and [new construction] doorknobs are falling off? Man hole covers are missing? Water is either not running, or mysteriously brown and "very dangerous"?
My first reaction was to laugh. Truly, the reality is ridiculous, and therefore, comedic. And then I felt a little bit of shame. Shame on myself for laughing. Shame because I know the conditions in which many of the locals in this posh resort town live daily. You probably won't, though, if you just watch the sporting events, because part of the 50 billion was used to build high walls and either whitewash or destroy that which was unsightly (such as communal outhouses that were the only toilet facilities available to some residents).
And Sochi residents don't have a monopoly on squalor. I was able to spend a month in Russia in 2006, mostly in the far east city of Vladivostok (and the surrounding villages), but also a couple of days in Moscow. I was shocked. A man hole that was covered was the anomaly. Water was polluted and it sure wasn't hot (the city controlled the water temp, and after May hot water was considered unnecessary, despite the outdoor temperature). Rubble, broken glass, and general disrepair was everywhere, especially the further you traveled from the wealthy sections of Moscow. Many impoverished people, including the elderly in hospices, relied exclusively on outhouses, or a chair with a hole cut out placed over a bucket.
|The only "bathroom" at a rural Russian nursing home.|
7 WAYS TO HELP
1. Help Young Orphans get the love and attention they need by supporting the Grandma Mentoring Program
2. Support the Mission's Gift Shop. I especially love the hand made Baptismal garments ($25 each!!!), and the Rosary cases made from old priestly vestments (gorgeous!).
3. Make a Donation to the Women's Support Center (which provides an alternative to abortion and basic ob/gyn medical services).
4. Take Part in Project Guardian Angel (in which you "adopt" a child who escaped abortion, yet is in need of financial support).
5. Host a Mission Speaker at Your Parish.
6. Have a Mass said. The free will offering supports the everyday needs of the mission.
7. Go to Russia and Volunteer!