It would be easy for me to jump right in a talk about the containers arriving today and all of the work that was done to unload them, but it wouldn’t do any justice to the amount of work that it takes to get them to this point. After careful loading and recording of inventories, there are hours (perhaps days) of work put into typing and organizing the inventories. They must also be sent for translation and put into a specific format. Dave then arrives in Belarus more than a week ahead of the delegation to start working with the various agencies to determine a receiver and bond locations. After this, the work begins with Belarusian Customs. The officers review the inventories and ask many questions as to the contents and final destinations. Only when they are satisfied do they allow them to travel to Chausy to be unloaded. Dave calls us prior to leaving Mogilev to make the 45 minute drive to Chausy. We put out calls to all of our delegates as well as local volunteers and meet the containers at School #1. Here the customs officers inspect the seal before allowing it to be removed:
Not only do we have the Canadian delegation to help, but also a group of students and staff from the orphanage, a group of the Chausy Firefighters, parents and family members from the invalid family organization as well as other family and friends. Here Randy pulls one of the first boxes out to start the “bucket brigade” line into the gymnasium.
Having the majority of the shipment packed in uniform sized banana boxes makes the unloading chore a lot easier for everyone.
Inside the gym we do our best to get the boxes organized by final destination as they come in from the container.
Tomorrow we will spend the day in the gym sorting the boxes by individual family and location and hopefully they will be released from bond in order to start the deliveries as well as allow local families to come in and pick up. Our 3rd and final container is expected on Wednesday and then we will have only about a week to complete all of the distribution.
When we were finished, a tired crew of Canadians was invited to the Chausy Orphanage for dinner. A real change for this year, they had set up tables and stools in the new “Malcomson Home” and served our dinner there. This was really special for the Canadians and a very proud moment for Vitalli and the Orphanage staff.
There are only about 30 children (out of 105) at the Orphanage this week as it is their March break. These are the children who have no relatives to go home to. As we got out of the car some of the girls were playing with a skipping rope and it turned out to be Sveta’s Birthday. Sveta is the girl on the left side of this photo with the red vest and she is 13 today. All of the Canadians sang her Happy Birthday (Canadian style and in English) and she was grinning from ear to ear! Lot’s of hugs were added as well.
Sveta has Lukemia and had a bone marrow transplant donated by her sister a few years ago and she seems to be doing very well. The reason she was brought to this Orphanage was due, in part, to many of the systems put in place by Canadian Aid for Chernobyl including a computerized nutrition program. It was felt that they could control her dietary needs better here. Her smile is a never-ending ray of sunshine and delegates take great joy in seeing her every time we get the chance!
PS: March 30, I just realized that this did not post yesterday but got stuck in my drafts … sorry about that! Dial-up can be challenging.