All but 2 of the Canadians are leaving tonight and we did a lot of running around trying to tidy up loose ends today. Pat, Colin and I made our first stop today to visit a very special family. Valentina and Leonid have a daughter who is now 42, but requires constant care. They are amazing parents who have dedicated their lives to her care. Here are Pat and I on a tour of their yard and garden.
While driving today we passed a freshly plowed field with 10 storks in it. I have never seen so many in one place. Here are a few of them.
No visit to Chausy is complete without a visit with Sasha Krasakov and his mom Lena. Sasha suffered with brittle bone disease as a child and lived in constant pain until he came to Canada at 12 for treatment at the Shriners Hospital in Montreal.
Today the weather was beautiful and we spotted many children training for biathlon in the town square.
We had time for a brief meeting with Vitalli who is one of the deputy mayors in Chausy. Vitalli used to be the director at the Chausy Orphanage and he has been a great help to us with our work in the region.
Afterwards we stopped at the Chausy Orphanage to deliver more books for the library from the Building Libraries through Literacy program.
And of course quilts from our wonderful Chernobyl Quilters.
The temperature hit 20 degrees today and it was great to see all of the children playing outside.
Our last visit was with a girl named Yulia who, thanks to the generosity of the Don and Shirley Green family foundation was able to have a life saving kidney transplant several years ago. Three years ago a special ceremony was held in Chausy to make Dave Shaw an honorary citizen of Chausy and all of our friends in Belarus were invited. Yulia attended this ceremony and met a young man who had come to Canada for medical help as a boy, they hit it off and now they are married and starting to plan for a family. What an amazing story for us to be able to share. Here are Dave and our driver/interpreter Nina having tea with Yulia today.
I am finishing this blog at 1 o’clock in the morning in the back of a van during the 3.5 hour trip to the Minsk airport. It feels like only yesterday I was headed in the opposite direction! By having the containers arrive earlier and the delegates later we were able to really hit the ground running and it feels like we never stopped. It has been an incredibly fast trip yet we managed to successfully complete everything we set out to do.
As with all of these trips there are many special moments and the people of this region are so appreciative and welcoming that I always feel that I have received every bit as much as we have delivered. It is such an honour for us to be the delegates and to be able to see the difference in these people’s lives. Thank you to all of our donors and supporters who provide us with this wonderful opportunity.