Russia made real by Betsingers

Joanie and Russ Betsinger gave presentation at the Mother's Day Salad Luncheon. Seated are their granddaughters, Amani and Nia Mackorie

Joanie and Russ Betsinger gave presentation at the Mother’s Day Salad Luncheon. Seated are their granddaughters, Amani and Nia Mackorie

By Marcie Klomp

Over 100 ladies and a few men enjoyed the annual Mother’s Day Salad Luncheon that boasted 50 salads on May 11! Russ and Joanie Betsinger, formerly of Lime Springs gave a very interesting presentation on their trip to Russia.

They flew to Moscow and then spent the remaining time on a cruise ship. For four days they enjoyed dancing, singing and history and language lessons.

Her favorite part of the trip was Red Square. It is a six-block area with 11 churches. It was also here she met with several lactation consultants, Joanie’s own career.

She enjoys comparing the United States’ health care system with other countries. In Russia, she found women get 18 months of paid maternity leave. The woman she talked with told her the most frequently asked question was “Why weren’t women pregnant all the time?” She said there are no agencies to help with the care of children. It is all out-of-pocket, so parents only have as many children as they can afford.

Another interesting fact is that at six months of age, 92 percent of babies are still breast-fed in Russia, compared with 21.4 percent in America. “The difference,” explains Joanie, “is the amount of maternity leave given mothers.”

Another tidbit of trivia is that 93 percent of those living in Moscow live in apartments that are cement and look exactly the same.

They traveled along the Volga River, visiting churches and palaces in the area, many of them built in the 1400s. One of the most impressive churches for Joanie was the church with 2,200 onions (domes). “It was made with all wood. No nails.” The church had been disassembled and moved to an island some time ago.

Russ talked about Peter the Great and St. Petersburg, which has 800 bridges and more canals than Venice. They learned Peter had four summer palaces, two winter palaces and one country palace—all in St. Petersburg! A grandson wanted a palace, so he built one for him. The grandson didn’t like it and never lived there. Russ commented there was lots of wasted money at that time.

It was here the couple watched a performance of the Russian Ballet. He joked, “After four hours of dancing, after four hours of dancing, after four hours of dancing . . . we had had enough.” He got his point across to the crowd!

They also saw another dancing performance they preferred to the highly acclaimed ballet.

The couple then showed off some of the trinkets they collected while in the former Soviet Union, including traditional dresses worn by their granddaughters.

Lastly, the audience was treated to a conventional dessert of Russian Apple Pie, baked by Russ, a retired chef.

The event is sponsored by Lime Springs Community Club.

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