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.