This has been a very exciting couple of days for the kids at the Chausy Orphanage. Yesterday Chantal Seguin took six of the hockey players from the orphanage all the way to Minsk. Their first stop was at a McDonalds, a first for 5 of the 6 boys and they considered it a “thrill of a lifetime”! Here Kolya, Vlad, Nikita, Anton, Vadim and Sasha pose in front of the restaurant with Chantal.
Then came the real thrill of a lifetime … they went to the Minsk Ice Palace to meet
Kevin Lalande! Kevin is the goalie for Dynamo Minsk, Belarus’s KHL hockey team. The KHL is the NHL of Europe. Kevin will also be playing on the Belarusian team in the upcoming World Hockey Championships which will be held in Minsk in May. Kevin is from Rockland Ontario and has a foundation in Canada that fund raises and works with disadvantaged kids in Ontario. This was a great fit for him and he was really excited to be able to give these boys a tour of the arena and dressing room. The boys were “stunned and in awe” according to Chantal. They were shy and afraid to ask questions at first but they eventually warmed up and peppered Kevin with questions about life as a professional hockey player. Kevin autographed items for all of the boys and even let them each pick out something from the store. He said that he doesn’t get the chance often so he wanted to spoil them! This truly was an amazing opportunity for these boys! Here is Kevin with the six boys.
This morning Peggy was able to present the nurse at the Orphanage infirmary with a tympanic thermometer that she had purchased with funds donated by a friend. Previously Peggy had asked for a wish list and this was the first item at the top of the list. Here Peggy demonstrates the thermometer for the nurse with one of our driver/interpreters, Andrei, as a volunteer!
This morning we loaded up all of the children from the orphanage into two buses and took them to Mogilev for a special outing.
We took them to an indoor go-cart race track where every child had an opportunity to drive a gas powered go-cart on an indoor track. You can see most of the track in this photo, except the straight stretch that is through the door on the right and returns at the far end.
These machines really move plus they would really slide on the corners being on smooth cement. Here 4 of the boys race for a corner.
Here is Kristina getting ready in the pits.
Most of the Canadians drove as well and everyone on the side-lines cheered and hollered and had a really fun time! Here are some of the girls posing on the victory stand!
After returning to the Orphanage, all of the children, staff and delegates met in the concert hall/gym. Stephen MacKinnon has spent a lot of time over the past several years working with the children to learn video production and they have produced at least one video each year. Meanwhile in Canada, the Upper Canada District School Board holds a Film Festival for High Schools each year called “Real 2 Reel”. Each school selects a video to be presented at the Festival and the participating schools receive a plaque. This year Stephen has been asked to be the featured speaker and talk about his work at the orphanage with the students and to show one of the films. The theme this year is “character education” and the committee selected a film produced by Karina to be shown at the Festival. In this picture Stephen is presenting Karina with the plaque for the orphanage. Stephen is very honoured to be selected to speak at this event and only wishes that Karina could be in Brockville beside him for the presentation of her video!
This was followed by the presentation of this years school yearbooks to all of the children and staff. The pictures and information are taken by the children at the orphanage, the yearbook is put together by students at the High School in Smiths Falls, Ontario and printed by Photovisions School Photography in Brockvillle. Here is Kristina, the yearbook editor, presenting the Orphanage Director, Oleg, with the first yearbook!
After this the yearbooks were presented to all of the children and staff by the Canadians. The room was very quiet for the first few minutes while the children savored every page.
Then there was a lot activity as the children ran around getting autographs from all of their friends and all of the Canadians too!
This is such a wonderful opportunity for the Canadians to mingle with the children and for the children to really feel how much we truly care about them and their future.