Monday, March 5, 2018

Current students

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Here is a recent photo of most of the students with Max and Garry at the farm show in Zaporosia.

You may remember that at the end of last summer, almost all of the previous year's students left. Some of the guys got into trade schools. A couple tried working. One Sasha returned to us in the fall and just a few days before this outing, Vasa, one of Kolya's Mazhara's brothers came back. He is in the black coat far right side of the photo. He seems very happy to be back and has moved into the "new house" with Nikolai, Sasha B, and the two new guys with Anton as the supervisor.

That's Anton in the tan coat and our translator Nelly in blue

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Sergey is on the left, Valara, right

You saw our grad guys, Nikolai and Sasha B in my last post. The two newest guys are a bit older than some of the students. Valara, 23 and Sergey, 26? (yeah, we really need to talk to the people sending us guys, this is the second over 23 we have gotten this year, but both seem to be really good fits for our program) came about a month ago, and seem to really like working, they have been helping with the house demo for this year's building project next door to our place. 

Sergey has one of those Cossack haircuts
and Vasa Mazhara at right

Alona and Nikolai
We only have one girl besides our four grad girls in the program this year and that is Alona. Since she is the only one, she has been living with Garry and I this year, while we look for new group home parents or more girls. The discussion is like a circle that never ends, which do we get first, someone for them to live with or more students to make it worthwhile? 
Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, people eating, child and indoorAlona has been Nikolai's girlfriend since the end of the summer, when her former boyfriend left for trade school. She enjoys beading needlework and has been working on a large picture of the Jesus painting by DaVinci since November. 

This month the three grad girls have been living with us, and Alona. They have all been doing some cooking together, making borscht and verininki for us.

The girls will move to the apartment when the team is here at the end of the month. However we hope to have some group home parents for the old girls house this summer.

The boys house is where Vova is in charge, his mother also lives there and the boys call her babushka (grandmother) and love when she makes buns and soup for them. There are 5 guys there now.

The youngest is Vitaly, he has been in and out of the program since summer. He has a big smile, a teasing manner with the girls and is turning 17 soon. He actually has parents, but had lived in an orphanage growing up and was one of the kids returned home as the foster system has been put in place. He is supposed to be attending a trade school, so he leaves to go there for weeks at a time and then comes back for a while. He's one of the guys everyone enjoys hanging out with, but he likes to avoid work, so he can be a problem when other guys follow along. 
Sasha that goes to church

Sasha with the bright coat
Then we have three Sashas living there! Two of the Sasha's came at the same time early in the fall. Both love to break dance and watch movies. One is a good football (soccer) player and one can beat Garry at tennis (ping-pong). One likes to play guitar, one likes to download music... or maybe both of them. 
Sasha #3

The third Sasha is the one from last year who returned to us after living on the street for a while (he had left in August, when the other guys went to trade school. He loves to eat.

None of the Sashas are really good students. One of them comes to the village church on Sundays and loves to sing.

Vasa at left and then three Sashas in a row

The other guy who is serious about his faith in God is Vasa (the new Vasa). He comes to church and wants to attend seminars and does a Bible study in the evenings with some of the girls at our house. He came to us after being in jail and coming to Christ.  He works hard,  writes poetry, and knows more English than most of our students. He grew up with Kolya Mazhara in the same orphanage, and I think he turned 25 in January. He also got invited on a skiing retreat by some Christians then and broke his arm on the last run down the mountain. His right arm, so he hasn't been able to write or do much for six weeks.

So that is an introduction to the students in the program currently, we also have the 3 guys and 4 grad girls I talked about last time. They have been attending classes on Tuesdays for the life choices program and going to English classes and sometimes my cooking classes. The girls do a lot of the milking of the herd, morning and afternoon. The guys milk in the evenings, and do a lot  of work during the summer with planting and harvesting. The students above do more classroom work with Garry, but some hands on experience in the barns also.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Student update

What are our current and former students up to? Karina and Andrei are both living and working in Dnepro.
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Andrei is doing well in his job as a go-fer at the railroad shop and has a room with wifi in a boarding house. He came out to the village last weekend to visit. Karina is on her fourth job and is living at a dorm for tram workers, we think her latest job is as a cleaner.

Our married couple, Kolya and Oxana seem happy and their apartment is a hangout in the evenings for some of the other students.

Vika is Oxana's older sister

Leila loves cows, real and toy ones. too

Valentina always has a smile or laugh

Leila and Vika and now Valentina who just returned to us last week, are moving into the front apartment as soon as it is fixed up a bit, with fresh paint and cleaning. They and Oxana do the daytime milkings with Yana, with the guys milking on weekends and at night.

The three boys were in the apartment for two years. Nikolai and Sasha have moved into the "new house" with two guys who just arrived Friday, with Anton, the Christian guy who came to learn about farming from a different organization last spring as group home supervisor. He is the night/weekend milking supervisor, too.
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Nikolai had a fall  at the beginning of the new year and spent a couple weeks in the hospital but he is feeling good now, they say he had a cracked skull and he had a bad concussion. He has a girlfriend, the new student Alona.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sittingSasha B is much the same as always, he was excited to learn to drive the bobcat skidsteer, but we don't know who taught him. 

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, indoorJulia and Dima have been living in separate apartments in Kirvoy Rog with a church organization that sends us some students for the last month or two.  Dima has been working for about three weeks at a heating plant, cleaning. He got it with his invalid status (disability) which he applied for in the fall, Dima has a back or hip that is twisted. The wedding is on for mid-March there. Julia hopes to find work as soon as her paperwork is straightened out. They should achieve their dream of independence.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standingIra is living with her family since she left in the summer. We had hoped to see her or Kristina at the wedding in December but they did not make it.

Wait for the next post to meet the new class.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Day of the orphan

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Sunday churches in Ukraine celebrated the day of the orphan and our guys were invited to the Central Baptist Church in Dnepro for a special service and meal. Garry, Nelly and Anton went with an overfull van. A few students stayed in the village to milk in the afternoon. I took a few photos before they left Sunday morning ( I spent the weekend nursing a sore throat and earache).

Two or three more guys were a little late and got in the van after they backed out of the driveway.

I heard it was a long service and a nice meal after. Garry borrowed my phone so he could use the Bible app and took a photo in the church.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


This school year we are celebrating everyone's birthday. Other year's the students throw their own party, if the they can afford it, but many cannot.
Vika blowing out her candles

 In September Vika had cake at our house and after classes started we now have cake and candles and a present between English (first class of the day with our translator Nelly) and the rest of the day's classes.

Happy birthday Leila

Since everyone has been on a school day so far, we have had cake for Oksana, Lelia and Losha (who asked for non-chocolate cake, it was apple).

Leila's cow present

Losha's birthday

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Just for Youth

Last Saturday we took all the students who could go (not milking) and wanted to (Losha has an aversion to crowds) to Just for Youth, a monthly Christian outreach program in the city that we have been attending for three years. At the moment we are hoping to find a few more students, we only have two new and two returning students and seven grads (four girls and three guys).

five students on a couch

 During game time Sasha Borchuk was the brave  first member of our group to volunteer. There was a message followed by food and playing more games- table and ping pong, too.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Coming and going

This week we had three new girls and two guys arrive, some say they are only here for a month, but time will tell. The girls are living at "the girls house" where our new translator Nellya is in charge, after the departure of Luba, who decided to move to western Ukraine last month.
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Here are some of the grads and Losha (left) unloading hay
Many of the new guys are putting in hours stacking hay now
We have had two of this year's female grads leave, one more is leaving over the weekend and one guy is looking for job, but still here for the time being. We'll see who is here at the end of the summer. 

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Nellya or Nelly in English our new translator/group home person
Two of the mature guys, Losha and Dima; who have finished the first year of our program are moving out of the boys house into one of the apartments to free up spaces there.

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At center, Irina, one of the three new girls
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We often have students drop in at our house
Here are Julia and Alionya, one of the new girls (blonde)
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Here's Ira, (and Garry) who went to live with her mother and siblings
after growing up in the orphanage and two years with us
Garry drove her to her town in the middle of June

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Just Youth

One of the things our students look forward to every time they go is the monthly outing to Zaporosia for Just Youth, a youth outreach program run by our Canadian friends Steve and Jo Harder.

I stole   got all these photos from Jo's blog you can check it out here if you'd like to read about what our friends do here in Ukraine.
That's our Misha at the far right from February, it was a telephone game where
 they translated from English to Russian and back as they went down the line
They have a different theme every month, and this past week it was Canada Day since the first Saturday of the month was July first!
There is always a short message along with lots of fun activities and often music and food.

Our Masha playing basketball
Sasha is wearing his Hope for Each t-shirt
The students are excited that next month they will get the chance to ride in the new van instead of packing 17 people in old Mercedes. We will use both for big outings and for regular stuff like picking up 5 prospective new students yesterday at the bus station.  They got to ride in the van with seat belts!

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