Monday, March 23, 2015

Meet the rest of the students

OK I should continue the introductions...

This is our other female student, Nastya or Anastasia. She has lived in the group home for two years, she was the only one of the foster kids that New Hope placed in the houses the year that the trade school was in limbo, who decided to stay and try out the school. She has a father that she knows and recently found out where her mother was living when she was born 20 years ago, and would like to find her. She has a pension for having a mental deficiency, but she seems normal and a sunny personality, always smiling and she loves to make friends as any of our North American visitors  can tell you! She will tell you all the English words she can remember, and some Italian, too. She loves dogs, and thinks she might want to attend a sewing school in the future.

This is Kolya M (short for Nikolai.) He was the first student to arrive last summer is from Kiroy Rog, where he knew the Rays of Love team, the Nikkels, Canadians who work with kids in that city's orphanages. He is our oldest student at 22 years, or 23 on Thursday. He does not smoke and is a favorite of the group home parents at the boys house. He has lots of potential, and often has the best grades;  but sometimes you have to push him to get dirty when it's time to work, or pay attention in English class if he is bored, since he knows a good deal of English already.

Here is our second Kolya who also came  from Kiroy Rog. We were going to call him Nikolai, but it seems that hardly anyone does! Two Kolyas are confusing at times, like when the test papers come in. He also has a pension, and gets some money each month, when he often buys the other students candy. He has really neat handwriting, and seems try to do well in class. Like many of our students, he is smarter than he first appears.

Our other male student, Simeon left shortly after the trip to Kiev, the group home parents had trouble dealing with him. He had trouble sleeping and often roamed the house at night, keeping other people awake, and often had trouble telling the truth, and doing work in class. He returned to the dormitory where he lived before, hopefully he will be able to find a job and stick with it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Meet the students, part one

So I like to introduce you to some of our students and staff. Some of the teams coming asked to learn something about our students before they meet them as they would like to start praying for them.

Sasha and Valera
This is Sasha (or Makarena like the dance, it's his nickname, he's closest to the camera) who I wrote about early in the year, you may remember he left us in the fall to live with his sister and brother, that did not go well, and he ended up very sick in the hospital. After a time recuperating at his foster home, he returned to us two weeks ago. He is currently living at our house instead of the group home. Our youngest student is a happy guy, loves to socialize and help his friends and knows more English than the other students. He has a Moldovan father, and his Ukrainian mother died, his has several full and half siblings, and is from southwestern Ukraine.

and Valera (with glasses) and Sasha 
Valera is twenty. He has been here since a couple weeks before school started, his brother Nikolai was here for the first month of school, but left. Their mother was murdered by their father, I was told. They have several siblings, and he lived in a Christian foster home at one time, he is very familiar with the Bible we have been told. Valera is our most promising student in class, he really wants to get the best marks and often does. He has a tough guy exterior but likes to draw, and can be a little lazy at times, but gets along well with the other students. He spends too much of his extra cash on smokes, but gave up drinking when he came because he realized it was a problem for him.

Sasha with Bear

Our second Sasha ( the diminutive for Alexander) came when the first one left in November. He is 22 and has the most trouble with academic work but is a very hard worker and  when it's time for practical work, he often volunteers for extra. He has a ready smile, even when I make him say something in English, which he really has trouble with. Garry invited the students to come with us to church in Dnepropetrovsk when I was home sick, and Sasha has gone several Sundays and I noticed he really seemed to be listening to the sermon last week (we had both Sashas and Valera).

 Here is Maria, (or Masha) Garry's translator and assistant (she spends a lot of time on the phone, talking to contacts, prospective, current and former students, group home parents... and even helping with building projects. She lives with her parents and grandmother in Zaparosia and stays out in the village (at our house) from Monday to Thursday every other week when we teach this winter, because the bus service from the village to the city was cut back, making it difficult for her to commute. She is a Christian like all of our school staff.

Maria and Yulia
Yulia or in English, Julia; is a happy  girl who will be 20 on Wednesday. She came to us early in the school year with her best friend since they were in the orphanage, Karina.
 Yulia is our female student most interested in the cows and working with them. She is a hard worker, even though she is maybe 5 feet tall, and a good student in class, too. She does not smoke, either, unusual for orphans.

Karina is also 20 years old
Karina has changed a lot since she arrived, but she is a tough nut to crack, you might say. She was afraid of animals when they arrived, cows and dogs both. Garry had trouble with her name, he thought it was Kalina, so she has become Karina-Kalina, which she thinks funny. She is a very unambitious student in class, you have to push her to work. She smokes and likes to roughhouse with the boys, hitting and kicking.
 Her dream in life, we found out recently, would be to become a nurse.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


our first Sasha student came back a week ago

Valera and Sasha at work nailing boards over the insulation

Karina and Natasha

The new and improved attic on Friday afternoon
As you can see, Garry and the students are making progress on the 'new house' this week. The wood and insulation was delivered on Tuesday and on Saturday they finished working on the attic floor. The students had removed four wagon loads of dirt and rotten wood as seen in my last post by Monday evening.

Garry was amazed at how much they got done when he left them working by themselves for an hour on Thursday while he was showing some visitors around. They were very proud to show him, too. We now have two Sasha students with our first one returning to school. He is the one in the photos, the other Sasha stepped on a rusty nail sticking up through the house earlier Thursday afternoon and had to get medical attention Friday, the group home father drove him into Zaporozhe and he is supposed to stay off his feet for five days. Garry says he is the hardest working student, too. The students get paid by the hour for the extra work on the house, and Valera was very excited about his pay on Friday. Hopefully all the surplus doesn't go for cigarettes.
Monday afternoon the plan is to start the downstairs demolition with the students, with the building team from Alberta coming in on Saturday evening, there will be lots for them to do.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Students in the attic

We don't take possession of the new house until March 15th, just six days before the arrival of the building team from Alberta; but on March first we took over the attic! The attic had a double layer of boards with dirt packed between (for insulation if you are wondering why).

the insulation

The students have been making extra money this week in their spare time in the afternoons clearing out the top layer of wood (I hoped to have a photo of the wagon backed up the house that they were filling with stuff, but it was gone when Garry and I went there this morning.) Next the dirt will be shoveled out, so Garry and Max Rudei can inspect the beams and lower layer for rot and make repairs. Then fiberglass insulation will go down. They have also started digging the septic tank? hole?.

This morning only Julia and Karina were up the ladder when we arrived, some of the boys were over at the new barn, where Garry planned to dehorn heifers, so they are in the the photos. Karina thinks it is better than helping milk cows, she paid one of the boys to switch places earlier in the week!

future septic system

Karina and Yulia (She has decided she likes Julia)