Today was the day that the delegates always look forward to, and the first time delegates now know why. It was a day to be spent with the wonderful children at the Chausy Orphanage. It is a day for the children but we get so much back that from these children that words cannot express the joy that this day brings! It started with a concert put on by the children for the Canadians. The talent that these children have is phenomenal and we were treated to their best performances. Here are four of the younger children performing for us:
The two little guys on the left are new to the orphanage and the youngest they have had in 5 years. They are actually 7 and 8 years but they are so little they seem much younger. The older children, especially the girls just love them to pieces! They have approximately 25 new children this year, and this orphanage takes on the most difficult cases. The Director, Vitalli, and the rest of the staff are so successful with these children that this is the location of choice. In this next picture Katya is singing a beautiful song about Angels:
The highlight of the concert for the Canadians and certainly for Dave was when the children performed a song that they wrote specifically for Dave Shaw! It was a beautiful tribute to the love that he has for these children. Although it was sung in Russian they provided the Canadians with an English translation. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the Canadian group! Here they are singing the song:
There were many presentations after the concert. The Malcomson group congratulated the hockey players on their hard work and progress all week and presented each with an Ottawa Senators T-shirt. They also named an assistant coach for each of the Forwards, Defence and Goalie’s. Here is Allan Malcomson presenting Liosha with his Official Team Canada Olympic jersey.
Steve MacKinnon also introduced the school to the brand new Chausy Orphanage Website with a live presentation using an LCD projector. There are pages for “School Life”, a photographic tour of the school as well as to present the acheivements and successes of the students. Currently we are hosting the site as a sub-domain of the the CAC website but will eventually get it moved to it’s own Belarus address. The children are 100% responsible for the pictures and content. You can currently find it at:
Due to the limited time it is completely in Russian, but we will be getting English tanslations on each page.
The secret project that Stephen was working on with the kids was a photograph of all of the students that they presented to Dave and Vitalli. They also made copies for every student in the school. The caption reads “Our Friends Forever”. This picture can also be found on the main page of the website. Here is Dave accepting his copy of the picture from Yulia:
After the concert ended the buses, vans and cars were loaded up to head to the Ice Palace in Mogilev:
There was a great hockey game with Belarus vs Canada, with lots of action and the students were able to show off their new moves:
I heard the Canadian Coaches say how well the players performed and managed to remember much of what they learned all week. The game ended in the traditional 6 – 6 tie! Here is the group photo, of course they let the Canadians wear their game jerseys:
And then it was time for “free skate”, this is so much fun for everyone. The children love to skate with the Canadians and I know for my part there is nothing more rewarding than feeling a hand slide into yours and hang on for a lap or two. Here are a couple of my partners, at one time we were 5 across:
Stephen lending a helping hand:
Shawn Knowles (one of the coaches with the Malcomson group) doing a little training. Does it look like he is having any fun?
One of the amazing things about the Chausy Orphanage is that past graduates often come back to visit and this week was no exception. We saw many of the students who are now in University or College and a few who have completed their schooling and are now working, married and with children. It speaks volumes to the fact that this truly is a large family and they really feel that this is home! After the skating Dave arranged to have four recent graduates, all now attending University, to meet with us and he presented each of them with a laptop computer to help with their studies. An exciting and proud moment for everyone.:
With Dave are Olya, Kolya, Viktoria and Dima as well as Natasha Numovich who helps us to administer the Orphan Education Program.
The day ended on a wonderful note with a farewell dinner hosted by Vitalli (the orphanage Director) at the Malcomson home. We were even entertained by a few songs from our talented driver and interpreter Andre!
A wonderful time was had by all with the opportunity to review our experiences from the week as well as thank Vitalli for everything he has done for the children. He in turn thanked all of the delegates for their participation in programs that are truly changing the lives of these children and giving hope where none existed before!
PS: The delegates are all heading home over the next 24 hours, but I hope to have more to post once I return to Canada … maybe after a little sleep!