Time to Catch Up

Today’s blog will allow me to play catch-up.  Prior to my arriving Dave Shaw was here preparing for the delegation to arrive.  Jon Schuler arrived late last week and was here when the containers arrived.  Together with the help of many locals they managed to get the containers unloaded and the boxes sorted, however we still do not have Customs approval to deliver the boxes so they wait in-bond.  In the meantime Murray and Cole Ferguson arrived and along with many of our drivers and interpreters managed to strip the wallpaper from several bedrooms at the Chausy Orphanage.  Here Murray and Dave are emptying the rooms of furniture:


Here are some of the gang
stripping wallpaper along with help from some of the children:


This project will see 3 rooms and the hall updated with new paint, wallpaper and new doors.  The local contractor was hard at work removing and replacing doors.


Yesterday the painting started with the radiators in these rooms as well as 4 rooms renovated last Fall.  Here Cathy Boone and her host Anya work together on a “battery” as the rads are called in Russian.


Cole Ferguson gets some help from one of the children at the Orphanage.


Our drivers and interpreters are all amazing and always willing to help out whenever they can.  Here Alla and Tanya prepare to get rid of the “green”!


Today during a trip to Mogilev (the capital city in the region) one of our drivers needed to get a repair done on their car.  We pulled in to the garage to see if they could have a look to diagnose the problem.  The shop was very busy but they soon realized that 2 of us were speaking English and the shop owner asked if we were Canadian.  He told us that his mother-in-law received aid from the Canadians and he would squeeze us in right away!  He let us know which parts to buy and sent us to the auto-market.  Here is the 3-bay garage:


When we returned with the parts, 2 steering rack-ends for a Mazda 323, he took us in immediately.  They put the car up on the hoist and changed the parts.  Then they moved the car into the “3rd bay” where the computerized alignment machine was, and completed the job with a front-end alignment.  Here is a shot of the car getting aligned:


Cost of the job …. $30 for the parts, $20 in labour and $10 for the alignment!  Grand total $60!  I wonder what it would cost to ship my car for repairs?

On our way back to Chausy we were passing a farm and asked our driver about it.  They tried to explain that they raised very big birds birds here for eggs, meat as well as a farm that people could visit and tour.  Before we could guess the name of the birds we noticed a tractor and wagon in front of us slowing down traffic:


That’s right … an ostrich Farm in Belarus!

Last stop of the day was at the Chausy Hospital to visit a young girl.  Svetlana has lived at the orphanage for years and I first met her when she was 10 years old.  When she was young she was diagnosed with Leukemia and was given a bone marrow transplant donated by her sister.  The two of them have been living at the Chausy Orphanage as it was best equipped to meet her dietary needs due to the programs we have put into place.  Last year Svetlana started at Technical college in Mogilev studying hair dressing and her sister is now also studying in Mogilev.  Svetlana’s health had not been very good for the past couple of months so they sent her to Minsk for tests, a painful drawing of spinal fluid.  The results were not very good so they will be repeating the tests in a couple of weeks, if they improve they will give her a blood transfusion and if not they will try to find a donor for another bone marrow transplant.  Here is Svetlana with me at the hospital today.


She is amazingly positive and upbeat and continues to study so she will be ready for some school exams next week.  This is a little girl with a big heart and shining smile and although I went to the hospital planning to help cheer her up, I think I was the one that left uplifted and feeling positive for her future!

Eric McKenzie

5 thoughts on “Time to Catch Up

  1. Colin Price

    I see Anya still loves having her picture taken

    Keep up the good work

    Great blogs as always Eric


  2. R. Patricia Capitain

    What a courageious girl Svetlana is! Francois and I will keep our fingers crossed for the test results to come back improved. We are very impressed with the work the team is doing on the wallpaper. We have taken off wallpaper in an old house and know that it can be a tough job. Our best wishes to everyone and thank you for your contributions to make deserving people’s life a little better.
    Patricia and Francois

  3. Connie Lou Sebast

    Once again, I am brought to tears when I read your blog. Such caring people with such “enormous” hearts!

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