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.
|Oksan, Kristina, Karina (Sergey's daughter) and Ira|
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.