Tuesday, 20 September 2011


I wish there was a way to paint with words, to show you everything here in a way you could actually feel/ smell/ taste. But this is quite difficult, so I’ll just tell you as best as I can and you can engage your imagination…if facebook hasn’t killed it…

Where to start? With three hours of church in Russian, because the service got somewhat hijacked by a blind group telling their testimonies and singing Ukrainian songs on the accordian. For an hour. Southover would have had a siezure, collectively. 

Or we could discuss at length the first orphanage we visited – and are going back to tomorrow – where the kids were so excited to just play games for ten minutes before they were called away to do more work. And the director said we can visit every Wednesday, as long as we pay to get some of their windows fixed. Which is kind of normal for getting into state run institutions here, you make it worth their while and they’ll let you do their job for them. 

Hmmm, I think I’ll focus more on the disabled orphanage we went to yesterday. First, some background: Stalin’s perfect society did not have any room for anybody with any kind of disability, so they built ‘orphanages’ miles away from anywhere and put all the ‘unhealthy’ people in them. Twenty years after Ukraine gained it’s independence, these places are still the main destination where people send their disabled family members.

On arriving our OM friends Gert and Ira took us into the new room of the orphanage that their Dutch church had paid for, a space big enough for ten people to play and learn in. When we walked in the children were beside themselves with wanting to hug and play. I just said ‘da’ to everything they said to me, so apparently I have agreed to buy one of the girls a doggy. And they have a ball pit.
The second part we visited was the section that had been rennovated by an American church, for the children who had been rated ‘the best’. They were seen as able to learn and they had their own classroom. Then we went through to the main area where the rest of the 90 children hung out all day.
As a team we just discussed how on earth I’m going to communicate this over a blog, and we’re all bewildered by the weight of it all. So I’m just going to tell you some facts;
-          The ‘kids’ ages range from about 7 to 30 ish years old.
-          There were 3 staff for around 50 disabled ‘children’.
-          They all just mill around all day in the concrete yard.
-          Nobody knows what disablities people have, they’re just classified as ‘unhealthy’ or ‘autistic’.
-          Nobody is separated from anybody else, regardless of age or gender or disablity.
-          One young woman doesn’t like clothes so she wasn’t wearing any.
-          There was a lot of rocking, screaming and shouting. The staff were concerned about me being there because of my bump and the unpredictable violence that can happen there. Many children had bruises and scratches on their faces. (I was fine, they were all very gentle and loving towards me and bump.)
-          At night the staff lock the residents in their bedrooms, which we weren’t shown, and go home. There’s one person around in case anything kicks off. Did I mention this is all age groups together?

So that was the disabled orphanage. They’re not orphans, but they may as well be.
And if we didn’t have a heart for this country, we do now. 
I think we're convinced that this is where we are meant to be based for the forseeable future. Our brains have already adapted into 'when we come back to live here' mode, and i'm sad about having to leave our friends here for six months. But i'm also very excited to come home because I miss everyone and cannot wait to meet our daughter! Hurry up January...
Here are some photos for your eyes

This is a fire upon which we cooked Shashlik (Ukrainian BBQ) at a rehab centre in the country.

 And this is Senya and Vova pretending to kill a chicken. They did not actually kill it. 

ok, lots of love, byeeee xxxxx



  1. love reading your blog, and was nearly in tears when reading about orphanage. will be praying much x

  2. Lots of prayers going out to you, the team and the orphans. May God's blessings rain down from Heaven. there are no more words.