As promised, today we started distributing the contents of container number 2. Specifically the packages that have been sent from Canadian families to families in Belarus. Here is a picture of the gymnasium at School #1 first thing this morning.
If families do not have the means to transport their packages then we deliver them to their homes. Many of the families will also come and pick up their packages from the gym. Some may own a car or have a friend with one. Some show up with little carts or small tractors and some, like these two gentlemen, used their bicycles to get them home.
Here is a shot taken at one of the busier moments with a line-up of people waiting to sign the papers and collect their packages.
This week is the March break in Belarus and most of the children in the orphanage have gone to be with family … usually Grandparents. Approx 70% of the children in the orphanage are not “true orphans”. They still have family but they have lost their rights due to alcohol or abuse, or perhaps they just do not have the means to care for the children. Therefore, of the roughly 100 children in the orphanage, only 33 are living there this past week.
As mentioned previously, Stephen MacKinnon is working with some of these children on an internet project. He discovered that two of the girls were having Birthdays and asked what they were doing to celebrate. They replied “nothing”! So Stephen conspired with Nastia and Vika to give them a very special Birthday. It started with a trip to Mogilev and a visit to a hair salon. Here are Yulia and Yanna when they first arrived. Yulia is in her last year of High School and is an excellent student. Yanna races on the biathlon team at the orphanage and placed second in the region in her age group this past winter.
Neither of them had ever been to a salon before (one of the girls in the orphanage cuts their hair), and they couldn’t believe the luxury. The hair washing alone was an amazing treat!
And a professional styling was unimaginable! The smiles just would not go away!
After, there was a short shopping spree and a pizza dinner in a restaurant!
Here they are after the salon treatment with Nastia (left) and Vika (right). Nastia and Vika both grew up in the Chausy Orphanage but have both moved to Canada, completed school and are working as Nurses, one in Ottawa and one in Calgary.
When they were dropped off at the end of the evening they could not find the words to express their happiness and said it was the best birthday ever! Stephen explained that we don’t only build “chicken barns” but we like to help build strong independent women and he knows that, like Nastia and Vika, they too can fulfill their dreams in any way they choose!