Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas

I found this photo this morning, you can see many of our students and the group home parents singing at the church in Zaporosia for a Christmas program, sure to make Garry miss his students more!

Garry has booked his plane ticket for January 9th, anxious to get back to the village with all the stuff he's collected to help with teaching his classes. He has been getting posters and informational DVD s from farm businesses and even some gifts for the students- like hats. He has not had much luck in finding out the best way to get the students here to Canada for a summer experience to see and maybe even work on farms.

The addition to the boys' house has progressed while we've been gone, as you can see in the photo John Weins sent us this early in December. The builder is using hollow, reinforced concrete-filled styro-foam blocks to form it up, it will be stuccoed on the outside. This will add a large common room and three more bedrooms to this group home, so more boys can live there next school year. More of the work was completed before the snow fell last week. Of course, more money is needed to finish, and that's before we even start the work on finishing the barn for the trade school!

For info on donating follow this link

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Field trip to see a farm

The last class Garry taught before leaving for Canada was an all day field trip on Thursday to see a demonstration farm built by the Canadian government.
They went in Victor's van

Banner  on the barn 

plan for the facility

Sveta and  the other students looking at the cows

Inside the freestall barns

Sasha with his foster mom from before the trade school

The students had lunch at the home of the foster parents that one of the students lived with before coming to the trade school. Garry said everyone enjoyed the trip, some of the students we trying their cow evaluation skills on the cows at the farm.

Homemade pizza, salads, Pepsi and juices
  We invited the students for pizza that evening, and most of them made it,  but a couple were busy studying for the next day's classes, so the others brought a couple slices back for them.

Since it was American Thanksgiving Day, I even made pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. They enjoyed learning and playing Uno, the girls want us to bring a deck back for the girls house to play with.
playing UNO

If you are wondering what is happening while we are gone, Masha- or Maria, the translator is teaching English and they are having classes on Finances.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Working and another birthday party

L-R Alina, Masha-translator, Nika, Tall Maxim in front, Sasha and  Vadim

School continues, the students have a good time together in and out of classes. In this photo they are waiting for afternoon lab or practicum, as they call it to start at the farm. Often they are here so Garry can demostrate some practical farm activity like counting how much feed is in storage, then they return to the school to calculate how much can be used per day to last until there is new feed in the spring. The cousins Sasha (Alexander)and Vadim have fun personalities, they are always smiling, Vadim is more of a "ham" joking and acting whenever possible, and Sasha is a singer, he sang a solo at the village church Thanksgi ving service.

The two Maksims (or Maxim, it is Max-eem, the first spelling is more direct from the Russian spelling of the name, since there is no X sound in Russian, there is a letter that looks like X in cyrillic, but it is an H sound, the H looking one is the N sound in English) Tall Maxim is younger and a hard working student, keen to learn English. He is the only one of our orphans with no family, having been in an orphanage since he was a baby. Many of the others have one parent and came to live in the orphanage between the ages of 4-11 because of care issues.  Maxim even comes to the farm to work feeding the cows on the weekends when no one is scheduled to work-- the students all work two at a time before and after school on school days as part of the work experience hours required for the certificate. Maxim doesn't get paid extra for this extra work, but he sometimes ask to use our shower after. Of course the answer is yes, Andrei,(our employee Maxim's brother) the only male student from the village (non-orphan) is happy to have help on the weekends.

Maksim K herding cows

 The older, shorter  student Maksim is quieter, but a steady worker in class. He was herding the cows the day Masha (the translator) took some photos, along with Katya, so I uploaded one for you. The students enjoyed the ten days of herding cows, they went out in two, along with a young fellow from the village we hired. Now none of the students are afraid of cows, after spending a few days with the village herd in the field. Herding cows was on the official list of things to learn for the certificate from the Education ministry. All the Maskims is confusing for you? I think we know more guys called Maksim than any other name here in Ukraine!

Last Tuesday evening we went to another student birthday party, this time for the new student, Swetlana (or Sweta almost every name has a nickname that is used by friends and family.)  I forgot the camera so I have no pictures, but let me tell you she has bloomed into a happy girl since returning from Kramatorsk to tie up the loose ends there. It seems we rescued her from a near slavery condition, where some woman had control over her and the money she recieved from the government each month. She recieved gifts as the guests arrived, we also had to blow up a balloon and write birthday wishes on it before entering the house. Garry blew his up big, and it exploded as he tried to write on it, so he had to blow up another one, which had everyone laughing.

We enjoyed a variety of food, many different salads, roast duck with apples, at the girls' house with most of the students, Sasha the teacher who lives there (she is finishing her veterinary degree and teaches anatomy class to the students) and all the foster parents. Then Kolia, the Dad from the boys house played guitar for some praise songs in Russian in the living room, followed by a charade game-- it is difficult to guess the words in Russian, but they did ours in English--- where the winner would reach in a bag for a small prize, and if they had already acted one out, they picked someone to go next, who leaded down the hall with the last person to decide on a word to do. Luba the girls house mother ran this game.

Sweta enjoyed all the fun, smiling quietly on the couch with everyone. Two of the boys pulled out  "girls prizes" and handed them over to her.  Afterwards, we all crowded back into the kitchen for dessert--cake but not cake with candles. Then they played a game with two two person teams, they peeled oranges, and when the finished, were handed skotch (tape) to put it back was rather messy, as the oranges were very juicy, it was good thing they played in the kitchen so the floor could be wiped up after.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A new girl

On Sunday we had a phone call from Victor, who had driven to Kramatorsk with a couple who works with orphans in Kirvy Rog...they had met an orphan girl at the church service there and would she be able to come to the trade school. Garry phoned Maxim  it was decided, so she got an chance to interview and decide about staying ---lots of room in the girls house, anyway.
Garry introduces Sweta to Max and Andrey
 Swetlana (Sweta) is a graduated orphan who got a diploma in greenhouse work, but was unable to get a job. She had a small room at a factory and a 300 grivna a month ($40) unemplyeement payment from the government).  She is a Christian girl who had atteneded the church there, taken English lessons with our friend Stacy last year, and was baptised this summer while working at the kitchen at a camp. She came with a bag of clothes and a cell phone to Dnepro, where they spent the night, we picked her up and brought here back to meet people at the school Monday afternoon.
Classes were on break when we drove up

We'll let you know how things turn out!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hiking in Crimea

Andrei with his big backpack

Three of our students
 The students, along with a group of graduate orphans living in Zaporosia, and some adults took the train very early Friday (or late Thursday -3 am) to Crimea and returned Monday morning.

Our Andrei is one of the students from the village and went with the group, and borrowed our camera to take pictures, so here are some of them. Remember we want to give them lifeskills not just job skills, and this is part of the plan.
group photo

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Andrei with one of the two Maxims in school

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soup's on!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Katia's birthday

On Tuesday we were having the students for lunch between classes because their usual dinner arrangement was unavailable, the foster parents were having training last week. I had planned a nice dinner with a potato casserole, beans and fried cabbage, along with bread and dessert. I had thought about making pie, but I did cake instead. Garry had heard that Katia was having a few friends visiting, and it was an inspired choice that I made cake, because it turned out it was her birthday.
Katia is ready to blow out the candles with a full table of friends

 We got them all around the table and after a slight delay---I had not got the pototoes in the oven soon enough and we had to wait until 12:30 after Englsih class was over at noon. We found the latest television report online, while we were waiting, since some of the students had not seen it. After eating, I found some candles and we sang and had her blow out the 20 candles, she seemed to really enjoy it. She is a quiet student since school started, but has seemed happy lately. She had invited us to her party at the "girls house", along with all the students, and so you can see that I finally got some photos there. We ate dinner with everyone, lots of special salads, but could not stay for the cake and the rest of the fun, they were playng games when we left...or I left after playing a game, Garry had to run out and breed a cow somewhere in the village, he just got back in time for our drive to Dnepropetroesk for our English Bible study, or book study- we are doing Mere Christianity.

the dog-puppy at the girls' house

It's Masha the new translator in the kitchen

balloon time in the living room

shoes everywhere in the entry for the party

more balloons boucing off the walls over the couch

and more balloons!

Sasha is trying out the bunks beds- while Katia has her hair done in one of the bedrooms
 The boys and family moved into their remodelled house in the village the next day
So this is the "girls' house"

Monday, October 8, 2012

We're on television

Students doing lab at the farm on TV
Here's a link to the news story that was being filmed last week - it is in Ukrainian, but everyone can enjoy the pictures! Scroll to the bottom of the pqge to click on- and open the video - after you click this link.
the newest news broadcast

If you like to see the older news story with English subtitles, it is available on youtube, thanks to our project partners at New Hope, click this link

Hoping to get some photos of the houses this week, the boys and foster parents will be moving in this week, their house in the village has the renovations completed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Television again?

This cow is 16 years old!
I don't know if you will be able to watch it on the internet again like last time, but we had television cameras back at the trade school and farm again yesterday. Here are a few photos I took while Garry had the students looking at the legs and feet on some cows outside the barn in the afternoon.
You can see the students were dressed up for the cameras. They taped at the classroom (even English class) and the girls' foster house where the students eat lunch everyday.

Last week on a foggy morning I snapped some photos of girls with wheelbarrows as two of the girls were doing their morning practicum-work experience. Andrei was filling wheelbarrows with brewers grain for them to feed the cows.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

On the news...

Just for fun, unless you understand Ukrainian, here is a link to the news report about the trade school that they were filming here on Thursday afternoon. Garry is called a Canadian farmer selected for the honor to teach the students- I think someone told us who does speak Ukrainian. You can see the students in the classroom, barn and even having lunch at the girls house.

We have made the newspapers also! I have used google translate to translate this web page version for you. It's a little stiff, due to the differences in the way the two languages use word order among other things, but you can get the idea. It totally doesn't come up with Garry Verhoog or the name of our village - Nikoli Polia (which means Nickolas' field) or John and Ev Wiens though!

 Basically, it gives the story of the why and how's of the trade school. It is an experimental trade school, licenced by the government for 20 new students each year, and there are 7 this year, so far. The students are learning English because we hope to send some of them to Canada for a work experience there.

 If you read Russian here is where you can find the original text online.

Zaporozhye orphans learn from Canadian farmers
Have you ever wondered where to go orphans discharged from the boarding schools? Where do they learn? Do the normal paid work? Where to live, after all? Who needs them?Statistics disappointing: Many of the children have alreadyin youth drink too much and fallin prison, and the girls go to the bar ...Appeared, some people still care about these issues.And, furthermore, these people find a way out.
In the village of Nikolai Paul Zaporozhye region in Ukraine opened the first non-profit vocational school - training center [UPC] "A New Hope." Project for our country unique. It aims at training and socialization of orphans, graduates of boarding schools. Here they will be able not only to get licensed by the Ministry of Education Special "Dairy farming" [not only in theory but also in practice at working farm], but also to learn the English language, computer literacy, social ethics, psychology, relationships.How good ideas are bornWas initiated by the Canadian Centre made a couple, John and Evelyn Vince, who lives in Ukraine for five years. Two years ago, John and Evelyn met in Kiev with Maxim Oliferovskim, now director of the center. Nothing happens - people from different countries come together in unexpected views. Not only that, three years ago in the village there was one Canadian - farmer Harry Verhuk [he is now just and teaches at the center, and on the basis of his farm, students will practice], opened a dairy farm in the determination to teach the villagers, as in our case You can build a successful livestock farming. Coincidence? Rather, fate.Maxim and his Canadian friends were able to find sponsors in Canada, whose contributions and funded "New Hope," and brought to the work of young American volunteers living in Kiev. Representatives of regional services for families and young people, as well as the regional department of vocational education and training have helped to overcome bureaucratic delays in registration documents.Who are they, future farmers?Ministry of Education of the quota of students in a course UOC - 20. For the first year until the typed seven. Home [and so far only] a criterion for admission is the desire of the two-year study of the child. To dial the students conducted interviews among the graduates of professional orientation in five orphanages: Gulyai-Pole, Tokmak, Molochansk, Volnyansk and former Zaporozhye boarding school № 3 [now KP "Zaporizhia training rehab boarding"], were taken to a farm Verhuka.Graduates of boarding center managers are not limited to - learn here can and so-called "social orphans" of Nicholas Paul and surrounding villages: children from single-parent, low-income families or families with many children.17-year-old Max, a graduate Molochansk boarding school, a little embarrassed, tells of the reasons to go to his farmers. He thinks, in our country, such a business can be profitable if approached correctly to his organization. Maxim is aware that the path of Ukrainian farmers may be arduous, but what to do? We must break through. That's very grown-up boy says.Job - well,and the family - even betterThe second part of the project - the housing program for the students and orphans. The child has passed the social adaptation and was able to adapt to independent adult life, he needs to grow, if not in the family, at least to see the model of a complete family. And growing up in a boarding school kids do not have a clue about the basic things: planning a family budget, distribution of domestic tasks, girls often do not even know how to cook. Therefore, students of the "New Hope" live with mentors, who replaced their adoptive parents [of them were volunteers from Zaporozhye and Odessa regions], in private homes in Nicholas Paul. Girls - in the same house, the boys - in the other. Good thing: close and caring adults, and housekeeping boys learn to lead themselves.Mentor and now the mother of girls Ludmila money itself has recently experienced a real life drama. Ludmila - believer, raising two daughters and has long wanted to adopt children from the orphanage. Husband strongly opposed, added religious differences - and was followed by a divorce. Ludmila was a whole year with children forced to live under the same roof with her became stranger and quietly bury their dreams about a huge happy family. The woman says that she prayed for the whole year, and asked God to give her a hint of what to do next. When I heard about the upcoming opening of the center, she realized: her prayers answered. Now the woman doted in their ward of [daughter Ludmila also live under the same roof with a new family] and rejoicing - the girls are learning to bake pies willingly under her strict guidance.Life after "Hope"The essence of the program - not just to educate, but also to employ in the future. At the former farm complex in Nicholas Paul, who is now in a dilapidated state, leaders of the "New Hope" plans to open an updated farm [in 200 cows], which can apply their skills graduates. Some graduates are ready "with his hands and feet" to take our farm and neighboring regions [farmers professionals and young people in general are now in farms starved]. The best students go for internships in Canada - on farm Verhuka Harry and his friends. The guys who want to work on themselves, the center will facilitate the acquisition of several cows to open the individual economy and housing? [Rent a house or an interest-free loan].
Settlement Nicholas Paul have created over a hundred years ago, German colonists invited to our lands by Catherine the Great.Parents, John and Evelyn - come to the very German-Mennonite, so Canadian family is a special place, historical, you might say.
Anastasia Pisarev

Friday, September 21, 2012

Practicum - or working on the farm

AS part of the trade school course we are following from the Ukrainian government the students have hours of practicum- practical experience.
the boys forking wheelbarrows full of corn silage
Every school day we have two students come in the mornings and two in the afternoon, they feed the cows with Andrei's help and supervision- Andrei is above facing the camera. Andrei was a little unsure of the girls ability to push wheelbarrows around before they started, Garry told him I used to do it all the time. Garry says it takes the girls a little longer as they can't fill the wheelbarrows as full, but they will get faster (and stronger) with practice.

Garry tells me the other students are wondering why Andrei is taking the classes at school when he already knows what to do! I said it is because he wants to be a boss not a worker!

That is the aim of Garry's courses to teach them not just to be qualified to work on a farm, like the diploma they are working toward, but manage one. They will learn to balance feed rations, breed cows artificially, select better animals (dairy judging) and treat illnesses, not just better milking procedures and cow care, but the reasons why things are done the way the are, so they can make good decisions as managers, or even owners of dairy farms.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More television---class time

Tuesday and Thursday are the days that Garry teaches (and I do my English class- I hear from the translator that they told her that there are so many words to learn in English that one hour is tiring- today we did articles of clothing) He has lectures in the morning on cow care - they are talking about what to feed a milking cow, and dairy cattle judging (turns out someone else is teaching the anatomy class) and then labs with experiments or practice at the barn. Garry was on the dairy cattle judging team back in his university days, thirty years ago, traveling to the World Dairy Expo and other contests around the US and Canada with four other students and the professor.
One of the Maxims is being interviewed for television

Masha, who is translating this week, helps some students

Students judging while the crew is filming
 The students couldn`t come to the barn until the school  bought rubber boots and coveralls for them. However the coveralls weren`t quite what Garry was picturing as they  don`t really cover all- as you can see they are more like lab coats in blue. Professional looking but they would stay cleaner in real coveralls!
Jenia is wearing a labcoat while she is milking cows  in the middle of all the activity

Andrei in his boots and lab coat for class

Today it was dairy cattle judging practice in the afternoon at the farm with Garry (until there is enough money to finish remodelling and outfit the big barn with equipment and cows, everything happens in our little barn this year. To add to the fun, the ladies were still milking the cows, and a television crew were here to to film at the school. I understand that they taped at the house while the students ate lunch there,(sorry I still haven`t been there to take photos, but it has been nicknamed the palace) and then here at the barn, interviewing some of the students while they judged some of the cows Garry selected,  deciding which have more ideal physical traits for a good cow.

Next week Thursday the students are going on a field trip to a bigger farm- the one we have visited, there are photos on the moo-oosings blog, I think September of October 2011.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Official Opening day for the trade school

you can see the cameraman videotaping

 Today was the big day with speeches, television coverage, ribbon cutting, food and even classes.

Here is a photo montage of this morning's events.
John and Evelyn Wiens with Maxim who was the emcee

the view from the front (I was standing next to Garry who was speaking)
cutting the ribbon (it was red and satin)
The students then went into school, Garry and his translator followed them, and then the guests and officials

There were lots of decorations - even helium balloons

Garry (and Olya his translator) and the students went to class

A display of farming stuff inside the class

.....while the guests had refreshments (see the posters of farming)

Maxim, John and some officials who spoke before the ribbon was cut

The trade school official even came to the barn with the camera crew- 

I even went along to the barn and handed out some nice good milk to drink from the tank, before John took them off to tour the girls' house in the village-

 I hope to get some pictures of that soon, and the other one they are working hard on renovating now for the boys.

I had a short English class after Garry finished, and this afternoon the students had their first lab at the farm, they counted bales of straw and hay and measured the corn silage to calculate how much feed there is for the winter.