Although it feels like just yesterday that the children arrived, in the blink of an eye the 6 weeks have gone! Tuesday morning our host families met to say goodbye to our “summer children”. Although the sun was beating down on the parking lot and there wasn’t a breath of air, no one seemed to be too hot to hold on tight or to prolong that hug just a little longer.
It is bitter-sweet for the children, as they say goodbye they are also starting the journey home to family and friends.
Although it seemed too short, it was still a great summer with lot’s of memories and good times. Of course the children not only take home memories but most importantly a boost to their immune system and a break from the radiation that they live in back home.
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Another successful summer for “our kids”. So good to have them back in Canada this year. Nice to see all the smiling faces & it warms our hearts to know we really have made a difference in the life of a child! Great job everyone. (It’s only 10 1/2 months until they’re back!!)
Love, Potential, Unexpected
Funk & Wagnalls – Copyright 1974
Love – A deep devotion or affection for another person or persons: love for one’s children…..ahh ha!(are they talking about the Belarusian children too!)
Potential – Possible but not actual, having capacity for existence, but not yet existing; latent. (Well….okay I know that’s happening?)
Unexpected – Not expected; coming or occurring without warning; unforseen( wow, that’s right on the head of the nail!)
Those three words describe not only my summer with Ira but my entire experience with CAC and the children and adults of Belarus that I have been so very lucky to have not only met, but connected with over the years. I have a 17 year old girl in my life now, who could say ” Thank you ” and “bathroom” when we first met, who now tells me “I love you Pat, and means it; and I her every bit as much as Sarah & Lindsay. I have full, meaningful, and productive conversations with her now which was so “unexpected” and I see more and more the potential in her and all the children I’ve met through CAC. Ira was so excited, so excited about being able to go to Canada’s Wonderland this year,(having not been able to come over last year) that she told Tracy & I that she forgot to shave one leg while in the shower preparing to go to Toronto for the day…….I mean that just killed me with laughter when I heard it. To all those who made that extra effort to get the kids to Canada this year, know that Ira was so happy to be back here; she really, really missed it; I could hear it in her voice when we talked about it this summer. Ira knows Canada cares about her not only now but in the future and she’s told me that so important to her and her family, if she feels and expresses this – it’s gotta be the same for all the other kids, isn’t it? We(Tracy ,Ira & I) were out on the deck having lunch this summer, soup and sandwiches – there was an empty “Christie’s Promotional Cracker Tin” that holds four sleeves of soda crackers on the table, I opened a fresh box and turned the four new sleeves upside down into the Tin container and said “presto”, Ira says: “Pat is this all you know at 53….come on”! The leg left unshaved, lunch on the deck…….these are the times and small moments that mean so much to people, they are no different than you and I, they like we; just want to know someone loves em and cares about them. I can’t put in words, as I sit here with a tear in my eye thinking about her back in Belarus, I miss her terribly……..my life hasn’t been the same since we first drove home from Brockville in silence 8 years ago with her between us in the front seat of the truck……..that silence is now gone, we speak the same language…….even when we’re not saying anything to each other…..we both know what we have between us now. I write this not for the other’s in CAC who already know exactly what I’m talking about…….but for those who don’t know, in hope that what I have to say here may create enough curiosity in a new reader to take the “chance of a lifetime” to experience even more “love” in your life, see the “potential” you and these kids from Belarus have together, and realize the “unexpected” is the best surprise of the whole CAC experience. God Bless Belarus, and God Bless all our kids…….Later, Paddy.
Here’s wishing your wonderful group safe travels home! So glad to hear about their adventures in Canada this summer. Our group of 13 Ukrainian children are safe and happy at home following their 6 week health respite visit here in Virginia, USA. You are right- 6 weeks can fly by all too fast! Our house is way too quiet now! Congratulations to your incredible program for its work with the families and children in the areas of Belarus affected by the Chernobyl Accident.
Kate Van Dyck
Children of Chernobyl
Alexandria, Virginia USA
Thanks for the updates and photos Eric. My experience as a host family is summed up by one word – PRICELESS!!!!! 🙂