It doesn’t get any better then starting your day with pancakes, maple syrup and a visit with Sasha Krasakov! Sasha suffers from Brittle Bone Disease and first came to Canada when he was 12 years old. At that time he had had more than 50 fractures and lived his life in almost constant pain. During that trip to Canada he was given treatment at the Shrine Hospital in Montreal that helped to soften his bones and stop the fractures. For the most part Sasha is now pain free, of course he certainly knows it when there is a change in the weather. When we are in Belarus his Mom, Lena, always invites us out to their home on a collective farm for “Canadian” pancakes and we bring the Maple Syrup.
This year was no different and we enjoyed a wonderful visit. When I first met
Sasha, the best moments were when you got him to giggle, he has a giggle that will put a smile on your face and warm your heart. Sasha is now 18 and a young man, but I counted 3 giggles during our visit and each one was music to my heart! Here we are with Sasha and Lena in the middle, myself, Pat and Tracy Yuille on the left and Dave Shaw, Peggy McKenzie and Natasha Gurinovich on the right.
We spent several hours cleaning and painting the floors of the bedrooms at the Orphanage and even had some help from a few of the children including Andrei here on his knees washing the floor.
Here is one of the rooms with the first coat of paint on the floor.
Afterwards we drove to Mogilev to a brand new big box store to look for area carpets. It is unbelievable the selection that is now available only 45 minutes away!
Stephen MacKinnon had suggested a program similar to our “Take your Child to Work” day that we have in Canada, during his visit last Fall. The Orphanage Director felt that this would be an extremely valuable program for the children in the orphanage in order to give them an idea of the type of work they would be doing in the fields that they wished to pursue. So during this trip Stephen worked with the Orphanage psychologist to set up some visits for the graduating students.
Here we see Tanya with Lena (the psychologist) behind the counter at the Chausy Post Office finding out what the day to day work is like.
Nina wants to work as a cashier in retail and got to spend a day working with the staff in a local department store and she loved every minute of it!
Yulia wants to become a Lawyer and got to spend the day with a young Lawyer who is working for the local municipal government.
Kolya is interested in construction and he was set up to spend a day working with a local contractor building a new apartment building. They put him to work first thing in the morning and later that night Stephen asked him how his day was. Kolya was very excited, he said that they showed him how to mix and pour cement, how to set the drain pipes in the floor and much more. They gave him an hour lunch-break so he ran the 3.5 kilometers back to the orphanage, ate his lunch and ran back. He didn’t get home until after 6 PM and he said he was so tired that he felt like he might not make it! However, the good news is that the foreman was so impressed with Kolya and his work ethic that he has offered him a summer job! This is huge for Kolya and will really put him on track to start his technical training in September!
The local authorities and the school board are both very interested in this program and may start looking at something like it for all graduating children. The beautiful thing for us is that this is a “no cost” program and it will be run locally without any help from us once it is off the ground. Sometimes just sharing our ideas and knowledge are enough to trigger a chain reaction of excitement for a program!
Peggy and I are getting ready to head back to Canada tonight, but I hope to bring you some more updates from the last few Canadians that will be returning this week.