I have finally arrived back in Belarus. After a long journey and a good nights sleep I met up with the rest of the delegates at the Chausy Orphanage. The new Malcomson Home is almost completely finished and we are using it as a central meeting place for now.
The porch on the end is going to have a deck style floor and the children will be able to use it for small outdoor concerts in the nice weather. Right now the snow is melting and there is a lot of mud everywhere. They have built a small plank sidewalk to get to the main door. Here you see Natasha, one of our interpreters, Vitalli, the Orphanage Director and Tolik, one of our drivers making their way to the house.
Everyone at the Orphanage is very excited about this house. These children have been raised in an institutional environment and in the past they would leave the orphange with essentially no experience living in a home as a family. Now the children will be given an opportunity to live together (5 children and 1 teacher) for a week at a time. They will shop for groceries, cook meals, wash dishes, do laundry and clean the house. Most importantly they will learn to live as a family sharing in the work and the fun. The house is being outfitted with everything and the final touches are being completed this week. Here you can see that they even have a satelite dish for TV!
And what a TV! It may be the biggest TV in all of Chausy! Dave took some Canadians and went to Mogilev to buy it, some area carpets, as well as hooks and a mirror etc for the bathroom and everything for the kitchen.
Here Cole & Jon are standing next to the fireplace which also has a traditional petchka (used here to heat the homes) on the kitchen side. The kithen cupboards are temporary until the new ones that are being built arrive. There will also be a stove/oven, a microwave and a fridge.
The living room area has the TV shown above as well as the surround sound system and a couch that converts to a bed for the teacher. Here you see the Canadians working at the large kitchen table. They are gluing book plates into the books that will be given to 4 orphanages with money raised by schools in the Brockville region. More on that in a future post.
The next 2 pictures are of the upstairs, both facing the same direction. On one side of the room there are 5 beds:
The other side has the stairs and some dressers. You can also see the stereo that was purchased.
One of the girls in the Orphanage is going to become a hairstylist and Pat Yuille let her practice on him and give him a haircut. In return he had some of the girls go out and pick out a new purse for her. She was pretty overwhelmed with this gift:
Last fall they decided to increase the size of their outdoor rink to 25 metres by 50 metres. All of the work was done by the students and staff. They had a very long cold winter with more snow than they have had in over 30 years! The Orphanage hockey team won a bronze medal this year and are shooting for gold next year! Here is picture of Murray checking out the rink:
While we were outside one of my “buddies” at the orphanage saw me and ran up to give me a big hug and then dragged me inside to show me something. It turns out she won an award for academics and was so proud to show me her accomplishment. Here she is in front of one of the award cabinets. Her picture and award are on the middle of the bottom shelf.
It is so amazing to see the changes in this orphanage over the years. A lot of the self esteem and pride shown by these children can be attributed to many of the programs put in place by Canadian Aid for Chernobyl with the donations and encouragement from our entire Canadian community.
What a great first day, I can’t wait to see what the next 2 weeks have in store for us!