Thursday, April 14, 2016


Last week Anton returned and got right to work... he reminds me of Maksym Boradin, he can't stop working. He says he is ready to stay and do the whole program this time. You may remember him as the boy who was interviewed when we were on the news. Two weeks later he had to go to his home village and did not return until last week Wednesday. He looks a little different with a super short haircut. He seems to have acquired the Luk Oil coveralls that Valera wore, that Max Rudei used to wear and has them on whenever he's working. I wonder how hot it will be before he takes them off.

Valera and Nikolai left on Monday, they plan to go to an auto mechanics trade school in July and are going to go to work in the greenhouse Valera worked in last summer. Garry says they hire orphans for their summer workforce. They did the final project, an inventory of all the farm equipment with serial numbers and prices in grivna with the other second year students last week. We will miss their smiling faces. They plan to return for  week in July before starting school.

Good bye Valera

The boys were busy last Saturday unloading supplies

Oksana riding down the street

The other girls are learning to ride the little  bicycle that Julia and Karina ride. I have seen Vika and Oksana riding it this week and I think they must not have rode as kids, like the other girls.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Meet the girls

Here's a video featuring the first year students in English class, we have been trying to sing in English this month. Garry wanted them to learn his favorite new praise song, This is Amazing Grace, and we have tried it for two weeks  but we have had more success with Jesus Loves Me. It has kida lost the tune and become a rap version, somehow...
Oksana and Vika

As you can see our first year students are mostly female this year! Vika and Oksana are sisters, and all of the new girls except Leila live in the new house we renovated last year.
Oksana likes to draw and has had a boyfriend since arriving here, Kolya (the oldest student). She is the youngest student, just 18 in September.

Vika is the only smoker besides Karina, and has changed quite a bit since she came in the summer. She is more open and always ready to try out new English words with everyone.

 Leila is 21 and loves to sing. She is always early for class. She grew up in the same orphanage as Karina and Julia, and has an older sister living in Russia. She had been living with her but was deported last year, so she came to us.
Oksan, Kristina, Karina (Sergey's daughter) and Ira
Oksana and Kristina, our 18 year olds, are the "cool kids" with boyfriends, although Kristina has a new one every month it seems, not many have been fellow students, boys from the village and currently, from the city. Kristina lived in a foster family before coming here, unlike our other students who came from orphanages.
They often hang out with Ira, who is very smart, but has some physical problems that means she has trouble walking at times, but she always tries to do everything everyone else does. We are told it is cerebral palsy, and her mother put her in the orphanage while keeping her brother and sister.

 She has a sarcastic wit, from what I can tell.  The other students help her out without complaint when she has difficulties. When they went to Kiev, they had to walk up a hill with lots of stairs in the snow and the boys took turns carrying her on their backs because she kept falling. The orphanage workers were worried she would end up in an "adult orphanage" for disabled people and wanted her to come here with the other girls and Andrey.

Valentina is a special girl, always ready to laugh, it seems she can't stop smiling and giggling whenever you see her. Since coming here, she has invested her money from the orphanage in dental work and braces. We think she was born with a clef palate that was repaired.  Her teeth were very crooked before and it seems since her braces went on her confidence and self-worth has gone up. 

 Leila lives at the first girls house with our second year girls, Karina and Julia. They live at the other side of the village, the farthest from the farm and school (at least a kilometer) and they got one of the bicycles when they came in the container in the fall. The smallest purple one, because Julia isn't five feet tall. None of the girls had learned to ride a bike as children, so they had to learn. Both Julia and Karina (or Kalina, her nickname since she came and Garry mixed up her name) were determined to do it and are enjoying being able get to work faster.

Leila and Julia

Karina discussing work with Max and Garry
While Julia and Karina look forward to the end of classes as they finish their two year course (especially Karina- Kalina, who while a hard worker is not an attentive student) they plan to stay in Nikoliapolia for the time being, working on the farm. Julia is a favorite with all our visitors, with her friendly ways and big smile, and pound for pound, is one of our hardest workers. She likes to act like Leila's big sister encouraging her to take part in everything.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

School days/daze?

Garry and I are teaching for the second week in a row. This is unusual, the normal schedule is we teach one week and the group home parents teach classes the following week, with Maria and Victor teaching classes on that Thursday because they come for staff meeting. Maria teaches writing and last month Victor was drafted by the group home parents to teach a dating and marriage class.
First year students putting seeds in wet paper towels in bags

Garry has the first year students conducting some experiments with seeds, the second year students are working on budgeting and inventory as they near the end of their studies. Both groups are excited that this week is milk products week. On Monday they separated cream so class was at our house, and today they will make torog (cottage cheese) out of the skimmed milk which has been sitting on the window sill in my pots, since Monday, Ukrainian style.

Yesterday, the second year students met at our our again so they could use the internet, since it is not working in the classroom this week. While I was having English class, Garry opened the door and a chicken walked into the house. Someone had left the boot room door open and one of the neighbor's chickens had gone inside, so she came in with him.

Most of the students were chasing the chicken around the living room, but it turned out Sasha was the best chicken catcher, and snagged her quietly. Kolya and Julia helped put her back outside.

Sasha, Kolya and Julia with the chicken who came in the house

Photo by Valera
Then it was back to watching The Gingerbread Man, after learning all about colds in English and the guy named Pedro who went to work sick.

Back in the classroom for English  this morning

Friday, April 1, 2016


Last week on Friday evening and Saturday all the students, group home families and Maria were off to Dnepropetrovsk for a seminar Victor found for them to attend. They went in two vans, Victor came out and they went in his van and the Mercedes which Max drove, 22 people from Hope for Each in all. I found this photo on facebook. They all had workbooks they wrote notes in, which you can see in the photo. Maria tells me that it was a good presentation.

In G. Dnipropetrovsk in church " hope " on 25-26 March, we with all the students and the entire crew had attended a seminar for young people on the theme: " what the Bible says about sexuality?". We found out who created an intimate relationship and for what; how to keep : Virginity, sanctity, loyalty; and saw that the past is the man can't change, but the future with God change is capable of!