Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Russian orphanages, part 2

Here's another update from Anna Fish, our correspondent visiting Russian orphanages.


We left Ivanovo Wednesday morning. Tuesday was our last day there. We had a GREAT day with the children! We began the day by taking them to an Orthodox church service. We bought them Orthodox crosses which the priest blessed and handed out to each child. We later made necklaces with those crosses. On the way back to the orphanage we stopped for french fries and soda. For many of the children the experience of visiting a church as well as eating french fries was a first.

We also did our lessons with the older children (boys and girls were separated) on drugs, alcohol, smoking and sex. It went better than we had expected and the children were very receptive. In fact, one girl completely opened up.

Before leaving Rose (the other team leader) and I had another meeting with the director and her assistant. They were extremely happy with our structure and topics. They really liked our organization and intentionality of dealing with serious issues. We discussed our continued partnership and additional ways to add to what we are currently doing in Ivanovo. The focus was on continuing and adding to training for the children. Continuing with English classes, music classes, computers and speech therapy. They would like to add woodworking classes for the boys as well as physical education for all the kids. We couldn't make any commitments but will address the possibilities upon our return to Colorado. We also bought and presented many computer programs to them (English, grammar, design, physics, etc...). They were thrilled and we feel confident these will be used well.
Saying our goodbyes was very difficult. There were many tears and it was hard to leave. Three days just wasn't nearly enough! On the positive side, however, with this being our fifth trip to visit them, the children know we will return.

We spent much of the day yesterday traveling from Ivanovo to Pokrov. We arrived fairly late in the day so didn't do much programming of our own. The kids and leaders at Pokrov led us in an international country study game, we took a tour of the facility and ended the day with a "disco."
Today we visited the Teachers College and its dormitory here in town. We were welcomed by the principle (or dean). We were shown a video presentation of the college and its programs. Three language students gave us a tour, in English, proving their study has been quite successful. We also had the chance to visit the dormitory which houses up to 300 students. Approximately 40 students at this time are orphan graduates. This number has nearly doubled in the past several years.

This afternoon we spent our time doing lessons, games and crafts. Being such a large orphanage it's harder to see the impact we are making. Tomorrow we're planning on having smaller groups broken up by age and gender. Again we're addressing the more difficult topics. Being a small team at a large orphanage for only a few days, we are praying for God to speak through us in ways the children can hear.


Post a Comment

<< Home