Monthly Archives: April 2008

Shoe Boxes for Seniors

On my last day in Chausy a group of us went out to deliver “Shoe Boxes for Seniors”. A group of dedicated folks from the Brockville area, headed up by Sharon Hanna, put many useful items into shoe boxes and we make sure they are given to needy seniors in the Chausy area. This year we took 1,400 shoe boxes! This will make a lot of happy seniors as every box we delivered was greatly appreciated by the recipient. In this picture we are on our way into an apartment building, note how short the door is:

Shoeboxes for Seniors

This woman lives alone and has very few visitors. She is able to move around her apartment on crutches but would need a wheelchair to venture any further. Although her apartment is on the first floor there are still about 6 steps to get to the outside therefore she cannot leave her apartment. She was extremely happy to have the box and all of the wonderful things inside but also for the fact that we stopped in and visited her:

Shoebox delivery

The next delivery was to a woman who lived with her sister. She is now completely bedridden and was overjoyed at our visit. She kept thanking us and crying and saying that it was nice that there were people out there thoughtful enough to bring something to someone who is no longer useful to society. She was a journalist and taught journalism at both the Chausy Orphanage and at School #1 in Chausy. She was holding a newspaper that had her last article published and she said that she would write an article about our visit and submit it to the paper. We told her that obviously she had taught many children over the years and that this was a great contribution to society and her legacy. She told us that some of her old students visit her from time to time and that some had gone on to become Doctors, Lawyers and Teachers.


All of the shoe box deliveries were excellent and emotional, Sharon and her group are doing wonderful things not the least of which is sending a message of love and caring!

Before leaving Chausy to begin our journey home we stopped in at the Chausy Orphanage to say goodbye and have one last lunch. While we were there we checked on the progress of the bedroom furniture. Here are a couple of pictures of a completed room:

Chausy Beds


The children are absolutely thrilled! A new bed may not seem like much to you or me, but to these children it is a daily reminder that someone cares!


Kostukovichi and Klimovichi Orphanages

Today a group of us including Dave Shaw made the trip to two orphanages, Kostukovichi and Klimovichi. Since the deliveries had already been made these were visits to meet with the staff and children and discuss potential future projects. This trip takes us through the evacuation zone so we made a brief stop along the way. Here is a shot of the signs you see posted throughout the evacuation zone basically warning you not to stop or enter this side road due to high levels of radiation left over from Chernobyl:

Radiation Sign

Here is what is left of a house that we stopped at:

House in zone

Inside was a little eerie with lots of things that were left when the family was evacuated. Right by the door was a pair of boots and this shoe:


The ceiling had been wallpapered and the wall paper was falling down. Behind the paper was several layers of newspapers including this one from 1959:


When we arrived at the Kostkovichi Orphanage the children were still dressed in their uniforms which are all made at the school by the children. Here are two of the girls:

Girls at Kostukovichi

One of the great things that we got to do here (as well as at the Mogelev Orphanage for Girls and the Chausy Orphanage) is to deliver new books for the library. Every year kids from the Brockville area participate in a reading challenge program (Lyn, Front of Yonge and Commonwealth Public Schools). They get sponsored to read books in a prescribed period and the money raised buys books for the orphanages. It not only benefits the orphanages but the children themselves benefit by developing a love of reading. Here are pictures of a few of the kids “checking out” the books. Within a few minutes these children were drawn right into the books and of course they are anxious to look at them all:

Books for library

More books

On the tour we stopped for a look at the concert hall where the children had made all of the curtains themselves … very impressive:

Concert Hall

Here are more curtains that the children have made. They have completed curtains for almost the entire orphanage:


Another real joy for the delegation is delivering the beautiful hand made quilts that are made especially for the children of the orphanages by the talented women of the 1000 Islands Quilt Guild. These children have few personal possessions and receiving this beautiful and practical gift is something they will treasure for their whole life. Here are some of the kids receiving their quilts:

Quilts 1

And here are some showing off their quilts:

Showing their quilts

Last fall when Shirley Green visited this orphanage she donated the money for a Home Economics Room and we got to see this new room on our tour. Here is picture of one side of the room:

Home Ec Room

The bathrooms have finally all been completed at this orphanage, there is the last one to be completed:

New Toilet

The children of this orphanage are very lucky to have an extremely talented wood craft teacher. He has amazing talent and vision in his own artwork and loves to get the children to see the potential in every piece of wood. He tries to get them to see the natural form of the wood and see things that already exist and expand on it. Here is one small example of an item made by a student:

Wood Art

Our next stop was at the Klimivichi Orphanage for Invalid Children. This is a new orphanage for us and we are still in the preliminary stages of prioritizing wants and needs. There are definitely a lot of needs in this building! The building itself is in dire need of repair. Many of the windows are rotten and leaking. Here is a picture of one of the windows:


Of course like the other orphanages this one needs new washrooms:


Some of the children were having naps when we arrived, you can really see the smile in this girls eyes. You can see in this picture there is a need for new beds as well:


This is the computer room, if you look closely you can see that none of them are plugged in. They are required to have computers in all of the schools and orphanages, apparently the law does not require them to work!:


We are definitely going to be able to help with the library. Many of the shelves were completely empty and the books they do have are very old and very worn:


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, a man in New Zealand, who discovered our organization on the internet, sent us a donation to buy something to help some children in an orphanage so we decided this was the perfect place. We purchased drawing paper, coloured paper, pencil crayons and glue and presented it to a group of children who were in a class while we were visiting. They were very excited and enthusiastic with this gift. It was a beautiful way to start our relationship with these kids, it is stuff that they will be able to use everyday and bring them plenty of joy:


We hope that over the next few years we can bring about some of the changes we have helped to make in the other orphanages and that we will also get to see the changes in the children that comes with this sort of project … improved self-esteem and the realization that they can achieve any goal if they put their mind to it.


Mogelev Visits and Pancakes with Sasha

Today we started in Mogelev. We went to a department store and bought some craft supplies for the children of the Klimovichi Orphanage. This money was donated by a man in New Zealand who has been following our blogs and watching the videos. He wanted to do something to help children here in Belarus so this was a fantastic contribution for these kids. More on this tomorrow when we make the delivery. Here we are picking out the supplies in the “Gum” store (pronounced “goom”) in Mogelev:

Buying Craft Supplies

Our first stop was a visit with Yulia Sipailo and her mother. Yulia had a kidney transplant in Poland last fall thanks to the help of Don & Shirley Green of Brockville. This intelligent young girl was attending University as well as spending 4 hours three times a week in dialysis! This is an amazing success story that I will expand upon later with a video interview that I shot while I was there. Here is Yulia with her Mom and Dave Shaw:


Our next stop was to visit with Andre Lisov also in Mogelev. Andre also received a kidney transplant (in Moscow) courtesy of Don and Shirley Green approximately 3 years ago. He is doing terrific and is even talking about marriage with his girlfriend, he says he will invite Dave to the wedding! Here is a picture of him with CAC’s Nadia Neilson (on left) his Mom, Dad, nephew and Dave Shaw:


His Mother is an amazing cook and baker and would not let us go without tea, food and her excellent baking:


We made a quick stop at Belarus’s answer to Costco, it is called “Hippo” (pronounced gee-poh) and it is huge and unlike any other store here. If you want to feel like you are back in North America, this is a good place to stop:


Our next stop was at a little girl who’s sister is currently living in Canada with Dave’s brother and sister-in-law. Her birthday was the previous week so we stopped in and Dave presented her with birthday gifts and some fresh fruit:


We made it back to Chausy in time to attend a pancake supper at Sasha Kraskov’s home. His Mom, Lena is so thankful for everything that has been done for Sasha that she always invites the group out for “Canadian” pancakes. For more info on Sasha please click here. Recently money was raised to install a well at their home as they previously had to walk 100 metres to get water for themselves as well as all of their animals. This new well was installed right in the front yard. Here is Lena with Dave and her new well:

Lena's Well

Just before leaving for Belarus we picked up some Maple Syrup for Sasha at Edgewood Farms. When they found out it was for Sasha they gave us some Maple Candy and a colouring book which I presented to Sasha before dinner. He was pretty excited to receive it:


Here is Lena serving up her pancakes:


All in all a great day with a wonderful finish.