Friday, December 30, 2016

Merry Christmas for the students

While the students are looking forward to the New Year holiday, which is the big day in Ukraine, they have been busy with Christmas celebrations. One Christmas day, Victor and Maria were in the village and all the group home families and students enjoyed a celebration and food at the classroom.

Maria handed out the gifts we had left for the students and staff.

The students who are going to the "evening school" went to a celebration there this week too. Looks like there were skits and other fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In the village

   the guys with Vova
 While we are in Canada, Victor, Maria, Max and the group home parents are busy with the students.

At the new house- Vika (in red) quit smoking three weeks ago

Sunday, November 6, 2016


We celebrated Thanksgiving again this year with everyone from the trade school invited with a potluck dinner (and turkey). Lots of food and fun with an opening devotional from our Ukrainian Hope for Each director Victor Danstev on Saturday evening. This year it was held in the new classroom with three sheets of chipboard over the desks to seat 38 people on a collection of chairs and benches from the houses. If you are wondering why November 4th, we chose it last week when the corn was all harvested.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Birthday party

some of the second year girls

Masha the newest student with Masha (Maria) and Garry

The whole gang

Vasili and Misha at left, they are Kolya's  brothers
Tonight the boys had a birthday party at their house. It was for Vasili. His twin Misha stayed in Kiroy Rog for this week (a bunch of students had gone for the weekend to visit a church that sent some of the them here), so the boys told me in English class today he doesn't get a birthday because he's not here. They worked very hard to make food for everyone. There was puree (mashed potatoes), beet salad, cutletta,(tiny meatloaves) hard boiled eggs, apple fritters, broeterbrot,(open-faced sandwiches) cookies, candy and cake.
Almost ready to start

Vasili the birthday boy, with Samson (Kolya) in his suit
Hungry anyone?

Yes they are

 Tomorrow  Losha (the artist, we have two Loshas now) will be 22 years old, he's the one with longer hair in the photo, sitting with Dima, who did a lot of the cooking for the party. Losha arrived back in March, and has been doing some painting with some oil paints some one left here a few years ago, he came by the house last month, he wanted to get some brushes because his were missing. I found the paintset and gave it to him, he was so excited I got a big hug, and he has a couple of his painting hanging in his bedroom.
This one is called October first

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Students come and go

We get many students who end up here because they are orphans over 18 with no place to go so someone has sent them to us. Sometimes they are unhappy about being here, even if they are afraid of the cows, or have other problems. A week or so after arriving one of the boys said he was afraid of the cows, so one of the other boys asked to be paired with him to help him out. We were not too worried as Karina came two years ago afraid of the cows, dogs and wanted to leave after a week. Now she is chief cow chaser in the new parlor and never wants to leave here.

Here's the last photo of Sergey or Serosjha, taken on Friday afternoon as we were leaving for teaching English in Dnepro.  Sergey's the one wearing shorts and the Chicago Bulls coat we gave him.He complained whenever I took photos so he is not in the one with the boys posing with their new hats. He came a month ago and kept telling us he was going to leave whenever things were not going his way, and was asked to leave after telling the police a lot of untrue things about the school Friday night. Hopefully he'll be happier back in the city. There was a lot of friction between him and the other boys who thought he was lazy. They would help in the yard at their house while he watched TV. I think the only thing he liked was English class, because he knew everything we studied so far.

However a couple hours earlier on Friday our latest female student Masha arrived (now I will have to call Maria, Garry's assistant by the name she prefers). So far she is excited about the farm and even Saturday evening church  although she seems to have a problem with withdrawal from some unknown substance, a first for us.
She was sent to us from the same Christian organization from Kherson that brought Nina a week earlier. Nina is the one with short hair at the end of the row in the photo. She seems to be adjusting, although if she shows up at the house again with cold feet because she isn't wearing socks in her rubber boots after receiving several nice warm pairs... I may not find her more. She seems to have studied English before, and we were told that she and Masha don't like each other when Masha arrived. Now there are three girls at Luda's house, so we only have room for a couple more students if we find more until the addition is finished inside, which the guys are working on now.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Student Pics

Well, now that I am back, here are some photos of the students, new and old! So far the new class is all guys, eight of them, which means that the boys house is full with Andrey still living there. The three guy grads have moved into their apartment, which has a real electricity hookup as of Wednesday, When they moved in a couple weeks ago they still had to use the extension cord from the neighbor's house we used during construction. They were cooking once a day at the nearby new house group home, the one remodeled the year before.

The new guys were all very excited when I handed out Winnipeg Jets hats and gloves that the team brought from Steinbach last spring. All but one guy posed for photos.

You will notice we are having class in our new large room which is in the other side of the building where the apartments for the grads are. This is the building remodeled by the teams from Steinbach and Salmon Arm this spring. Pretty much everything is finished in the classroom and two apartments, the ones the guys and girls are living in. The small studio apartment will not be used this year.

the outside of the building
Two of the boys, Samson ( another Kolya) and Dima, designed and built steps for the classroom. Garry plans to add a deck back here someday. Maria took a photo of them on their handiwork the first day of school.
Samson, Dima and two Loshas
(one is going by Alexi which is the name that Losha is the nickname for) 
Interesting fact: we discovered our original Kolya has siblings because he has twin brothers Misha (he likes Micheal in English class, he told me) and Vasili, or Vashsa who joined us this year. They look and sound very much like him, but they are not as tall.
The twins with Dima
Kolya goofing around with Vasili for the camera

This week Luba and Vova hosted male and female only night at their respective houses on Tuesday. I attended the girls one and got some photos.
 There was food, fun and crafts, and a talk about how men and women are different.(Maria translated for me).

Luba during her talk

The girls did quilling and made hearts

How do you do it?

 Vika, one of this month's birthday girls, is 20

Her sister Oksana turned 19 a week later

Friday, September 16, 2016

Night school

Garry sent me a few photos of the students

Here's the nine (six second year and three grads- I see Sasha, Julia and Karina) at their night school class, they have class three times a week in Dnepro. Looks like Andrey, Ira, Oksana in the front row. Vika, Julia Valentina and Leila right behind them.

It looks like Garry is teaching hoof trimming to the second year students, just like last year. I assume the first year students are starting with dairy cattle judging and learning the parts of a cow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New school year

Pizza party
Garry has started the new school year this week with the students. We have seven boys in the first year of the program, and eight students returning for the second year.
 We have been looking for a way to get the students better diplomas, and the village school was not an option because they are over 18 and  have handicapped on their passports. Everyone in Ukraine over the age of 16 carries a passport which is an official ID document, not for leaving the country. This week they found a school in Dnepro so the second year students can upgrade their diplomas. They will be traveling to Dnepro several times a week to study starting Thursday. Garry said our graduates, Julia and Karina want to go too.
Why? Almost all of our students came out of "handicapped" orphanages and did not get a full education, but if they get regular grade nine diplomas they will be eligible to go to any trade school they want next year.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


At the "new" girls house, peeling potatoes and chopping dill
What do the students do all summer? Well, the boys and Karina have been doing some extra work during hay and straw making time (they do get a bonus in pay for this, if you wonder). All the students work in the barn helping with milking about 5 times a week each, when they are in the village and they help out with household chores and gardening at their houses. Sometimes they help Victor with the bee hives, too.

Helping with the frames for the hives, they were putting in new wire
 Often the students head to the pond for a swim around 5 pm, and we have had a few hot dog roasts there this summer, in July we had marshmallows, too.

 Many of our students have been away for a week or two this summer visiting friends and family, mostly more distant relatives, or foster families, but  Ira spent two weeks with her mother and siblings in July.

In the middle of August, while we were in Canada, most of the students and group home families were away for a week of church camp near the sea.