After a long journey my group of 5 arrived in Belarus last evening. It takes anywhere from 24 – 36 hours of travel to get from home to Chausy and of course everyone is very tired. We all headed home for an evening with our host families before attempting to catch up on our sleep and adjust our internal clocks to the 6 hour time difference. Prior to our arrival Dave had managed to get three of the containers delivered and unloaded, mostly in the gym of school number one, which is our home base for delivering the aid. This morning he headed to Mogilev early to try to clear the final two containers through customs … a daunting bureaucratic task! While Dave worked the rest of the delegates went on a tour of the local museum.
This is the only building on the village of Chausy that predates the Second World War, and it has a lot of damage from bullets and mortar fire. This area was on the front lines for nine months and was basically leveled. 1 in 3 people in this region died during the war. There are many artifacts from the war in the museum as it now plays such an important part of the history.
This painting in the museum shows the village prior to the war, you can see 4 beautiful historic churches. None of them survived.
One of the displays is a tribute to the men and women who were instrumental in rebuilding the village.
Shortly after noon we received word from Dave that the final two containers were being released into bond. We unloaded 1 1/2 into the gym at school #1 and the other half container at the Chausy Orphanage. Here you can see that many local people came out to help us.
A bucket brigade was created from the truck into the gym and the boxes were unloaded quite quickly.
The final 12 delegates arrived and were brought to the Chausy orphanage where the director, Vitalli, thanked everyone for our help and welcomed us into the community. We were served a wonderful dinner and then home again to our host families and for the new arrivals to settle in.
Tomorrow we will start to organize the several thousand boxes in the gym so we can start the deliveries.