Friday, October 5, 2007

Ukraine 4 – Day 7 (October 5)

Just got back to the apartment from another day out and about, and will soon be hitting the showers before the water goes off at 9:00. Yesterday, Flo and company were busy buying as many winter jackets and boots as $1000 can buy; today we got rid of every one of them at a large orphanage of 120 kids. It was something to see. At first, the process went along smoothly enough. The neediest kids were brought in to a room and, one by one, they were fitted with boots and jackets. This was the calm before the storm, however, because soon, despite the best efforts of the staff and us, the kids were surrounding the supplies Jericho-like—minus the silence—and commotion reigned. We took lots of pictures of the kids who came away victorious. Unfortunately, it was impossible to have jackets for every kid who needed one, and one young boy took this particularly hard, but Flo has vowed to return with a jacket for him.

After the dust settled and the kids dispersed, we had a few minutes to ourselves, and then the administrator brought all the kids back into the auditorium, where we had the opportunity to say a few words to them before they did a performance in honour of Teacher’s Day. I did the rope trick for them I’ve been practicing, which went well, thankfully. Once Malcolm had spoken and sat down, we then got to watch their performance, which was fun. Picture a woman playing an accordion with a pile of kids around her singing their little hearts out.

By the time the program was over we were getting really hungry, so we went to the home of one of the staff for ham, borscht, potatoes, and beef. Then it was back in the van for the two-hour drive back with Rooslan at the wheel. As always, this was an event in itself. I have ridden in vans through Mexico City and El Salvador, but I have never witnessed anything like driving through Ukraine before!

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