2006 Ukraine Trip
Well, Linda Terry and I just got back from another trip to Odessa. It was a wonderful and heartrending trip. We saw lots of improvement, but, also horrendous conditions that some of the children lived in. It was so good to see all of the UAC staff there and the many children we have gotten to know over the years.
In 2005 I had found a place that made Braille bibles. I had ordered 100 of them for the Blind Orphanage and they just happened to arrive while we were there. We passed out about 50 of them and watched them reading their new bibles. We also passed out candies and stretchable balls that had been donated by a company in Washington.
Linda and I taught lots of classes to several orphanages. One was close to my heart, a weaving class at #4. We also painted sun catchers to hang in their windows at #4, and painted wooden snakes with kids at the TB Clinic. We drew on and painted T-shirts with fabric paint at #5 and gave lots of crafts materials we had collected and bought to #34, Alexandrovka, and Slobodka.
With money we collected from a variety of friends, family and acquaintances, and money from UAC, we were able to do a lot of things for the kids. We bought a new water heater and new faucets for Alexandrovka, a water filter for Blind Orphanage, sports equipment for several places, and we were able to buy new shoes, shorts, t-shirts and some underwear for 150 children of #34 Orphanage. What an Easter present for them all! We also bought clothes soap, sanitary pads, and shampoos for several orphanages. I took 2 suitcases full of toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc given to us from a Lutheran church in Murphys, CA and 2 suitcases filled with hand made blankets made by the ladies in Tuolumne County, CA.
It was quite interesting celebrating Easter there; we went to an Orthodox Church and on Palm Sunday. They use Pussy Willows instead of Palm leaves; there are no palm trees there. Then on Easter Sunday went to a production of the Easter story put on by the children at a Baptist Church in Odessa.
At Slobodka Mental Hospital it was quite upsetting to see the horrible bathroom conditions that the children had to use. With pictures and a report sent to UAC about those conditions, we were able to help in the process of getting a remodel of the bathrooms. Yeah!!! It is so sad to see children having to live in such conditions.
It is good to see improvements going on in many places, with windows replaced, and new light fixtures put up. Some sleeping rooms had been remodeled and also classrooms. There is such a constant need of repair and new clothing and shoes for the kids, plus daily necessities. UAC is constantly helping where they can, although there is such need.
We seem to be associated with arts and crafts and kids and teachers are always asking us for more yarns, needles, embroidery hoops, thread and material, beads, repair of sewing machines, and other crafts materials. We seem to feed their soul and creative mind, which can be needed as well. I love going over there to work with the kids, sharing ideas and learning from them as they learn from us. I feel so blessed to be able to share my time with the kids in Odessa. I have met so many wonderful people there, and learned more about myself as a woman in the process.
We wont be going there for another year, wish I could stay longer, like a couple of months, or more, working with the children there. My Russian is getting better, but I need to use it more. So, until April 2007, we will work here trying to raise money and supplies to take with us as well as spending with,and appreciating, our own families.
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