Donating and Volunteering for Charity in Astana

What an incredible day at the Winter Charity Bazaar at the Radisson today, ALL day!! My trusty team of six Kazakh sellers and I worked like a well oiled machine!  Amazing what we accomplished from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  I felt like I talked to about 1,000 people in those eight hours.  We sold hard cover books for 1,000 tenge and paperbacks for 500 tenge (the equivalent of about $7 and $3.50 in U.S. respectively)  The DVDs did not go like they have in the past.  When I was in Almaty last year and the year before selling at the Book stall for the bazaar, they went like hotcakes.  What DID go were the children’s books but not the magazines.  Oh well, I have my American friends to thank for giving to me about ten boxes of books which started this whole thing.

Third year for this event in Astana and I hope we raised a lot of money for orphanages in the area and also for other vulnerable populations.  I only took a moment to visit a stall that was sponsored by UNICEF and they had beautiful necklaces made by children.  Anyone who knows me, knows I have a weakness for necklaces and so I bought a beautiful bead one for 2,500 tenge or about $17.  I will treasure that necklace because it was little hands that made it.  Many other necklaces I would have loved to have bought because I thought it a VERY reasonable price but I had to get back to my book stall.

Oh the memories we will all have of this grand event.  The smell of pancakes coming from the Dutch booth and then there was the yummy Indian tea that was close to us.  We were next door to the Bolivian embassy and their delicacies and there were helium balloons I think with the Swiss embassy.  Two of my worker bees wearing Santa Claus hats went over to the Indian booth and had some fun things painted on their hands that will last for several weeks. (See above photo).

I’m out of words, I talked too much and with the help of many people we survived the steady flow of customers.  These photos will have to do for now to catch the essence of what we accomplished.  We nearly made my goal in sales.  Last year in Almaty we had sold about $1,700 worth of books.  This year I had wanted to sell $1,500 but we were shy about $225 of that goal.  All our volunteering and donating of our time and energy is for a good cause.  We all feel privileged to have been a part of this awesome event!!!

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