Although I have returned from Belarus, I have been getting some updates and pictures sent to me by Jon Schuler and Natasha Gurinavich, so I will try to play a little catch-up.
Once again all of the new children at the orphanage were presented with their very own quilt, hand-made with love by a group of quilters in Brockville. These quilts are very special and it is something that the children can say is their very own and they will hold onto them forever.
Last year Dan McKenzie delivered a unicycle to the orphanage and of course none of the children were able to ride it at that time. This year at least 10 of the kids are very proficient on it and several others are well on their way. They approached Dan to see if he could get them any more as it is hard to share one unicycle with so many children … looks like Dan has his next initiative cut out for him!
Jann Smith, Annis Moreau and Ruby Bird put together quite a few “Fresh Start Bags” to be given to each woman who stays at the Dream Mountains Crisis Centre. Here is a picture of the contents of the bags, the ladies running the center were very pleased and said that they would be very valued!
Here Dave Shaw and Jon Schuler present some of the members and executive of the “Invalid Adults Organization” with a laptop computer and printer/copier/scanner. This will be of great value to them as in the past all records were kept manually.
Jon Schuler brought with him some money donated by himself and his family. While there we were approached by the “Organization of Veterans, War, Army and Labour” to see if we could help them with a laptop as well . Jon determined that this was a worthwhile initiative and used his funds for the purchase. Here Jon is presenting the laptop.
With Dave Shaw’s citizenship award came a cash award of about $500 and our team came up with the perfect way to spend it! One of our prime goals is to help integrate the orphans and the physically and mentally challenged into society and have them recognized as significant. On Wednesday, Dave rented 4 buses and loaded up all of the children from the Chausy Orphanage as well as the children in the “Invalid Children” organization (about 115 in total) and took them to a 3D movie in Mogilev! Here they are lined up to get their popcorn and drink before heading into the theater.
Many of these children have never been to a movie before, much less a 3D movie!
Starting to fill up the theater.
After the movie the buses drove everyone back to Chausy where the next stop was a local restaurant, “The Liga”. This has been a gathering place for the Canadians while in Chausy so they know us very well. They closed the whole restaurant so that the gang had it all to themselves and the children were greeted by a “mascot”.
Everyone enjoyed a large bowl of ice cream! The owners of the restaurant even paid for half of the ice cream!
Here is the mascot with our regular waitress Anna.
Anna has been waiting on the Canadian delegates for several years now and has gotten to know us well. While the children were having their ice cream she approached Dave and handed him $100 US that she had saved. Remember that the average salary in Belarus is less than $500 per month and Anna will make considerably less than that, this is no small amount of money! She said that she wanted to donate it to our organization as we have done so much to help the people of her community. Dave pointed out one of the children from the Invalid Children organization and explained that he has leukemia and that his medication costs $130 every 6 months and his family is very poor and cannot always afford it. He asked if Anna would let him use her donation to help this family pay for the medication and she quickly and tearfully agreed! This world is full of amazing and wonderful people … I know, I’ve met them! Thank you to everyone who has ever donated, volunteered or offered words of encouragement, together we are making a difference!