Here is a recent photo of most of the students with Max and Garry at the farm show in Zaporosia.
You may remember that at the end of last summer, almost all of the previous year's students left. Some of the guys got into trade schools. A couple tried working. One Sasha returned to us in the fall and just a few days before this outing, Vasa, one of Kolya's Mazhara's brothers came back. He is in the black coat far right side of the photo. He seems very happy to be back and has moved into the "new house" with Nikolai, Sasha B, and the two new guys with Anton as the supervisor.
|That's Anton in the tan coat and our translator Nelly in blue|
|Sergey is on the left, Valara, right|
|Sergey has one of those Cossack haircuts|
and Vasa Mazhara at right
|Alona and Nikolai|
We only have one girl besides our four grad girls in the program this year and that is Alona. Since she is the only one, she has been living with Garry and I this year, while we look for new group home parents or more girls. The discussion is like a circle that never ends, which do we get first, someone for them to live with or more students to make it worthwhile?
Alona has been Nikolai's girlfriend since the end of the summer, when her former boyfriend left for trade school. She enjoys beading needlework and has been working on a large picture of the Jesus painting by DaVinci since November.
This month the three grad girls have been living with us, and Alona. They have all been doing some cooking together, making borscht and verininki for us.
The girls will move to the apartment when the team is here at the end of the month. However we hope to have some group home parents for the old girls house this summer.
The boys house is where Vova is in charge, his mother also lives there and the boys call her babushka (grandmother) and love when she makes buns and soup for them. There are 5 guys there now.
The youngest is Vitaly, he has been in and out of the program since summer. He has a big smile, a teasing manner with the girls and is turning 17 soon. He actually has parents, but had lived in an orphanage growing up and was one of the kids returned home as the foster system has been put in place. He is supposed to be attending a trade school, so he leaves to go there for weeks at a time and then comes back for a while. He's one of the guys everyone enjoys hanging out with, but he likes to avoid work, so he can be a problem when other guys follow along.
|Sasha that goes to church|
|Sasha with the bright coat|
Then we have three Sashas living there! Two of the Sasha's came at the same time early in the fall. Both love to break dance and watch movies. One is a good football (soccer) player and one can beat Garry at tennis (ping-pong). One likes to play guitar, one likes to download music... or maybe both of them.
The third Sasha is the one from last year who returned to us after living on the street for a while (he had left in August, when the other guys went to trade school. He loves to eat.
None of the Sashas are really good students. One of them comes to the village church on Sundays and loves to sing.
|Vasa at left and then three Sashas in a row|
The other guy who is serious about his faith in God is Vasa (the new Vasa). He comes to church and wants to attend seminars and does a Bible study in the evenings with some of the girls at our house. He came to us after being in jail and coming to Christ. He works hard, writes poetry, and knows more English than most of our students. He grew up with Kolya Mazhara in the same orphanage, and I think he turned 25 in January. He also got invited on a skiing retreat by some Christians then and broke his arm on the last run down the mountain. His right arm, so he hasn't been able to write or do much for six weeks.
So that is an introduction to the students in the program currently, we also have the 3 guys and 4 grad girls I talked about last time. They have been attending classes on Tuesdays for the life choices program and going to English classes and sometimes my cooking classes. The girls do a lot of the milking of the herd, morning and afternoon. The guys milk in the evenings, and do a lot of work during the summer with planting and harvesting. The students above do more classroom work with Garry, but some hands on experience in the barns also.