Me Too!

Yet another very cold day here in Belarus!  When you look around it is very hard to believe it is April.  At least the sun came out today.

Today we had two teams out finishing the last of the Social Service food box deliveries.  The last of the Canadians arrived last night and the first left this morning.  Several groups were out finishing up delivering family parcels, in fact we have a team still out delivering in Mogilev and it is past 10 PM here.

Rhona and I met with the new children who will be coming to Canada for the first time this summer.  Many of them live at the Chausy orphanage and we were lucky enough to break this news to them.  It was really fun seeing the expression on their faces, it was like they had just been notified that they had won a lottery!  They were so excited and they cannot wait for July to come!  Here Rhona greets Ilya with a big hug, he was speechless when we told him that he would be coming to Canada to live with Rhona for the summer.

Here Rhona and I tell a girl named Kristina that she will also be coming to Canada, through our interpreter, Nina.  We have a letter and pictures from her host family that we left with her.  I think the smile says it all!

Jann Smith, Annis Moreau and Janet Cooper spent the evening teaching yoga to some of the athletes at the orphanage.  Most of these boys play hockey and all of them are in the judo club.

Here Jann and Annis give some instruction through our driver/interpreter, Andrei.

Here are some of the boys trying a new pose.  This little guy was so tiny that the pants from the smallest judo outfit came up almost to his armpits and still dragged on the floor.  It sure didn’t stop him from having fun!

However, the absolute highlight of my day, and possibly the whole trip, was going on a shopping trip today.  Anyone who knows me may find this a little strange as I really do not like shopping!  Today I took a girl from the orphanage to Mogilev to buy some new clothes.  I met Kristina in 2006 during my first trip to Belarus, she was a sweet, smiling little 10 year old girl who performed during the concert and was one of the many children that we interacted with that year.  Every trip since then she has sought me out, showed me her accomplishments in school, shared her dreams and plans and found her way into my heart.  For the last few years I have been bringing her little gifts from Canada, school supplies, a backpack, make-up etc that my daughter, who is the same age, helped me choose.  This year I decided to take her shopping for some new clothes.  We picked her up at the orphanage with our driver Oleg, Nina our interpreter and headed to Mogilev, a 40 minute drive away.  I asked her if she was happy to go shopping and she said she was a little scared, that she had NEVER been shopping to buy clothes before and she wanted to make sure that Nina would help her.  She said that it was going to be so amazing to have clothes that were just hers and no one else had owned them before her.  It is hard for us to imagine a 16 year old girl  who had never been to a store to buy clothing!  When we arrived at the store she put Nina’s hand on her heart to show her how fast it was beating.  Nina said it was racing!  Here are Nina and Kristina looking at shirts in the store:

Here is Kristina heading into the dressing room.

and here she is outside the store with her bag of clothes.

In the car on the way home she told me, with tears in her eyes, that she would remember this day for the rest of her life!  I replied “ya tojha” … me too!

Eric McKenzie

5 thoughts on “Me Too!

  1. Helena

    Hello, my family lives in the Chernobyl zone, the Republic of Belarus, Brest region, Stolin, speak to you about the recovery abroad, whether you are taking children to a healthy family? I have a son, Alexander 9 years old, would like to send him to rest and recuperation abroad.
    Thank you in advance, Regards, Alain

  2. Connie Lou Sebast

    i rarely cry,but once again as i read your account, tears were forming in my eyes. i am so proud of you Eric, of your selfless giving. it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. for anyone who doesn’t know, Eric is one of my three brothers.

  3. Elizabeth Stromberg

    I read your posts every day and do admire everything that your team does. Thank you for finding the time to post when your days are so busy.

  4. Margie McKenzie

    My emotions feel pulled in different directions at once. Thanks for sharing your daily experiences so vividly.

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