Most of the delegates are out today making deliveries to social services families. These are the food boxes that people buy that are not allocated to specific families. We give the local social services department the number of boxes and they pick the most needy recipients. They also accompany us on all deliveries to get a signature as well as passport information for their records. These can be both the best and the most heartbreaking deliveries.
Before leaving on my first run, I stopped by the Chausy Orphanage with Rhona to drop off some insulin to a teacher there. His daughter is a diabetic and the medicine had been arranged for in Canada and we were making the delivery.
I snapped a couple of pictures of the new hockey rink at the orphanage. The writing is “HK” short for hockey and the name of their team, the “Meteors”.
Here is a shot with some of the kids practicing their rollerblading:
Inside the orphanage I found this beautiful paper Swan made by the students with little folded pieces of paper:
Speaking of birds … there are lots of storks in Belarus. Everytime I see one it reminds me of the one that delivered Dumbo in the old Disney classic. Here is a picture of a real one:
Annis was with Alex and I today and she always has a large supply of suckers on hand to give out to the children:
We have also seen lot’s of people tapping Birtch trees for the sap. We tasted some today and it tastes pretty much like water with just the slightest hint of any flavour. They often add orange rinds to it to give it flavour:
We probably saw 30 or forty horses and wagons today .. here is a shot with both the horse and wagon and a modern tractor:
And here is a horse and wagon moving some of last years hay:
This next picture is of a farmer and one of his 4 children. His wife was in town working. He had rabbits, a cow & calf, goats, 2 horses (one about to give birth) along with the usual chickens and a large garden. He said it is the only way that he can get by and feed his family:
This next picture is of an 87 year old woman named Nina. She was so stooped over that her hands could touch the floor when she was standing as straight as she could. She has a daughter in Mogelev (approx 45 minute drive) who comes on weekends to prepare her meals and help look after her. She only wished that she could still walk and she asked us to pray that she would walk again. She was very thankful for the food box:
This last picture for today is a woman named Zhenya. She is 96 years old and blind and had no papers or passport. She was born in 1912 and during the revolution in 1917 the government took her fathers land for the collective farms. He disagreed with this new government and was sent to Siberia and he never returned. She lost both of her sisters in the second world war (Chausy was on the front for over 9 months and 1 in 3 citizens died). She married and had children but they have all since died. She is alone! Sometime ago she became very ill and fell down unconscious, eventually she awoke and eventually she got help and was taken to the hospital. In the meantime she had lost her sight due to the illness and it has never returned. Recently someone came into her house and stole her passport and papers. She said that she has been sitting at home waiting for death to come but it has not yet happened. She has a niece who lives down the road who comes to stoke her fire and help her out. Everyone was crying during this discussion and Marina, our interpreter was having a hard time translating. She thanked us over and over for the food and we all hugged her before we left. It is a moment I will never forget!
If you ever wondered if these food boxes make a difference … just remember Zhenya!