The Perfect Send-Off!

Today is my last day in Belarus and it was definitely a full one.  Dave and I started our day with a meeting with the Mayor of the Chausy Region.  We filled him in on where we were with various initiatives and requested his commitment on initiatives going forward.  Mayor Anatoly is a man who cares deeply for his region and the people who live there.  He was very interested to partner with us and to commit to helping where he is able.  This is the municipal office at the city square.

Next we met with Elena, a woman who is involved in many areas of development in the Chausy region, we met with her to discuss a new initiative that will involve us partnering with her as well as the Mayor but we will publish more on this future initiative when the details are flushed out.  In this picture you see our interpreter, Natasha, Elena and Dave in Elena’s office.

Afterwards, we rushed over to the site of the “Dream Mountains Crisis Center for Women and Children” to meet with the contractors.  We finalized colour for paint as well as flooring.  We are hoping to have the official ribbon cutting in September when Dave returns with Shawn Dawson and the climbers who have raised the funds.

Then we went to the Malcomson House at the Chausy Orphanage to meet with Irina Denisyenko who heads up the organization for Families with Invalid Children.  We met with Irina to discuss the annual budget for her organization as well as any special requests or requirements.  This organization along with the Day of the Angel party are funded in a large part by the Rotary Clubs of Brockville.  Here you see Dave with our interpreter, Alla, Irina Denisyenko as well as Lisa Axworthy and Neil Matheson who head up the Guardian Angel Program.

Next we zipped over to the offices of the Organization for Invalid Adults that we were helping to clean and paint.  We met up with Sasha, a member of the board of directors of this organization to find out how they had made out.  The offices looked a lot better but we decided that another coat of paint was needed and provided the funds for this.  They will also purchase a desk to go with the new chairs that you can see in this photo.

Then it was back to the Malcomson House at the Orphanage for a final meeting with Vitalli the Director.  David and Margaret Campbell were also there to discuss the agriculture program.

From there I was picked up by Neil Matheson and Lisa Axworthy to go and visit one of our families in the Guardian Angel Program, the Moyesyenko family.  Valentina and Leonid have a daughter, Lena who is now 38 years old.  Lena was damaged during the birthing process by a technique called a “forced birth”.  As a result she is non-communicative, needs help walking and requires constant care.  Her parents are amazing people who have dedicated their lives to her care.  Since we began supporting them they have been able to add running water to their house, a hot water heater, a new bed for Lena, afford fresh fruit and vegetables year round for her diet and many other items they would not be able to afford.  They are both in their early 60’s and on a small fixed pension.  Of course they worry about what will happen to Lena when they are not able to care for her.  Recently, Valentina underwent surgery and she is finding it difficult during her healing process, but her spirit is wonderful.  We reminded her that she must take care of herself in order to be able to continue to care for Lena!  In the past this family was sponsored by a group where I used to work, however they are now sponsored by a group at my new employer, newterra (formerly Maple Leaf Environmental Equipment).  Here is a picture of me with Valentina, Lena and Leonid.

This family is so inspiring that I cannot think of a better place to visit prior to heading home!

Eric McKenzie

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