Friday, March 11, 2016

Meet the boys

Vova at center

We have made a change at the boys house, when Garry came back to Ukraine at the end of January, Andrey and Ira, the group home parents moved into the house they had bought in the village with their daughter. Our new group home supervisor, Vova, moved in. He is a single man from the Lugdansk area (one of the areas of Ukraine under rebel control).


Maria helped Valera get a new passport, they went to lots of government
offices for more than a year, but on Wednesday they were able to finally get it. He lost
his before coming to the school, and couldn't go on two trips to Kiev because you need
one to travel by train, among other things. Now he's an official person again.

Valera is very competitive and always wants to win. He is smart and one
of the better students in class. He wants to go to a trade school next year,
a possibility now that he has a passport.

Nikolai (in green) has changed a lot in a year and a half. He is a better student,
a better worker and a normal guy. When he arrived the director from the dorm
said he needed constant adult supervision, she told Garry and Maria that she
 can't believe how much he's changed when they met last week.

Last August there was an incident that really changed Nikolai. He got in a fight with Karina (smoking with him in this recent photo- we have a few students who smoke) and beat her up. (I should explain that she likely started it according to other students with them, and had a bad habit of kicking the boys.
The group home parents were horrified, even though she was not badly hurt, and wanted to send him away, perhaps to a mental hospital. Garry made the two of them work together on the unpopular 5 am milking shift for a week. They not only learned to get along, but they have both become better people since, to the amazement of all the staff.

Nikolai gets a government pension, because he is deaf in one ear. If he sleeps through his alarm, it is blamed on he didn't hear it because his good ear was down on the pillow!

We found out he once worked for a hardware type store and likes to assemble pre-built furniture, he helped put together the wardrobes and desks at the new house.
Kolya,(the short form of Nikolai) our oldest student, is a great favorite
 with the group home parents. He knows the most English.

He is the only one with a student girlfriend
 (Oksana looking over his shoulder)
Sasha is normally a cheerful fellow, he receives a monthly pension for disability
from the government. He will have problems living on his own.
Sasha recently got a new 40 grivna haircut he really likes

First year students

Andrey is our only first year guy now. We had a couple guys who came for
a week or two since September, but left for different reasons. 

He has some problems remembering in class, but is always willing to try. He had some money saved from the orphanage and recently went to the dentist and got a retainer to help straighten his teeth, which he lost for two weeks, but one of the boys found it in the house, so was back in his mouth yesterday.
This past week we had a visitor, Losha, a potential new male student from the dorm in Kiroy Rog, where many of our second year students lived. He met with Garry and Masha last week Thursday in Dnepropetroesk. He had come with the dorm director, who had needed to get Nikolai to sign some documents, since he is still registered at the dorm (they must have really thought we'd send him back from the start, I think, even though Kolya, Julia and Karina are all registered here.)

Losha had seen the news story about us and the school on television and had lived in a village and had some experience with animals and decided he'd like to come to our school.

It was decided after the interview that he'd come for a week visit and if all was well, he would go back and quit his job as a janitor and join our program. He went back to the dorm with the director that day to pick up his stuff, Nikolai went with him to help him take the buses from there to Dnepro and to the village. They were back shortly after noon Friday. Nikolai phoned and Garry went out to the highway to pick them up when they got off the bus (it's 2.1 km, almost a mile). Apparently, as they came into the village, Losha asked Nikolai if Garry knew everyone in the village because so many people were waving at them. He spent the week living with the boys, going to classes and working at the farms.
Losha and little Christina looking at drawings

So today it's Friday and Garry paid Losha because he was taking the bus back to Kiroy Rog, but I believe he will be back on Sunday, because Garry told him we could pick him up in Dnepropetroesk. He is a quiet guy, and an artist, Luda's daughter Suisha was showing him some of her work at the birthday party this week.

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