Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Visit to Sevastopol

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Sevastopol (a major city on the west side of Crimea about 80 kilometers or 50 miles from Simferopol) to attend a three-day conference about International Teen Challenge and their program for drug and alcohol rehab centers.  It was great spending time with friends - both old and new.

Two of us stayed in an apartment with a family. They were very hospitable people and did what they could to make us feel comfortable. We were thrilled when we found out they had wireless Internet available so we could keep in touch with our family and friends in the evenings.

Sevastopol has been an important port and naval base for Russia for a very long time and continues to be an important naval base today.  The Crimean War, with a major battle called the Siege of Sevastopol,  took place in from September 1854 to September 1855 with the British and French fighting the Russians.  During World War II, the Battle of Sevastopol was fought between the Russians and Germans for more than 8 months.

It was interesting to learn that at the rehab center where we met, there had been Germans fighting on one side of the hill against the Russians on the opposite side who were protecting Sevastopol itself.  The city eventually fell, but both sides had tremendous losses.

In some of the caves behind the rehab center, they kept some pigs for breeding.  They use about half the pigs for eating and sell the other half.  There was one large boar and 5 or 6 large sows, one of which had a litter of piglets.  It reminded me of my childhood when we raised two pigs for meat every summer.  I remember going to get the two piglets in the spring.  I also remember writing a short report about pigs for school.  My friend Kevin reminded me that the gestation period for pigs is easy to remember - 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days.

The pigs live in caves on the hillside - here is the sow with her piglets
These two pictures are of other caves on the hillside behind the rehab center - the side the Germans were attacking from.  The terrain is very rough and rugged.

These pictures are from the opposite side of the hill - where the Russians were defending the city of Sevastopol.

Being here reminded me once again how grateful I am for those who fought to protect my freedom.  Freedom is not free - someone had to pay the price.  Check out this slide show put to the song "It Has Always Been the Soldier" as sung by Doug Oldham.

How about you?  Are you thankful for the soldiers who have fought for your freedoms?

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