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Early in the morning, some of us still half-asleep, gathered on the agreed spot near the Pokrovka church in Angolenko area. It would seem there was no reason to worry: the transport was pre-booked, all the participants confirmed their attendance, the saplings were also purchased…
When the first volunteer, Irina, showed up, everything fell into place and the event started sprouting some shoots brought over by Irina and Nadezhda, so we knew everything was going smoothly!
Soon after the rest of the crew arrived. We waited for the mini-bus that was supposed to take us to the location whilst listening to entertaining stories of Uncle Volodya about orphans’ trip to Khortitsa Island which had taken place a week before.
The special surprise was an unexpected gift of the gardening tools to Kalinovka orphanage. When we were planning the volunteering day, we discovered that the orphanage lacks shovels etc. So we would like to express our special thanks to the guys for the “magic” sack full of saws, shovels, a hole borer and many other items that are very useful when doing maintenance or gardening.
Having taken a few photos to commemorate the occasion, our small but very keen crew set off. Next on the list was picking up some more saplings, flowers and bushes donated by Anna from Zelyony Yar.
Anna provided plenty of great plants, so the aisle of the mini-bus was soon filled up with boxes full of sprouts, and the raspberry bushes were placed on the rear seats together with the trees and bushes. Luckily Yulia took several volunteers in her car, otherwise we would be overloaded with our newly found possessions. There were as many as 15 of us.
Although the distance to Kalinovka is around 150km, we thought the trip was quick and painless. We arrived in great spirits and ready to put in some hard work.
As it happens, we didn’t have a long time to ponder things over and get all philosophical, so without further ado we split into teams and got to work.
Under Irina’s management the girls set about planting flowers, at the same time the Director organised the planting of roses and other bushes near boys’ quarters, and Uncle Volodya, an experienced gardener, was sharing his expertise on how to make the plants thrive after replanting.
Carrying the equipment and plants from the car
Hard at work
Wouldn’t want to miss out on a photo opportunity
It also appeared that it’s still a small world, so even in a remote corner of our region one can come across an old friend and become excited like a child.
Meanwhile, the planting near the boys’ Happy Home was in full swing. The boys who reside there were helping us as much as they could. Sasha carried water for us and took this task very seriously, the same as every other task he is given.
Appears that shovelling with two legs is a lot of fun! Nastya & Oleg and Stas & Ruslan gave the last 100% and handled it very well
Those who didn’t take part were watching the volunteers
Maxim was planting and turning the soil, he became our indispensable little helper!
Little Yury managed to get his photos taken as well as shovelling and turning soil first with an apple in his hand and then also with a ball
The Director was so professional it was difficult to keep up with him
It’s nice to do everything together!!!
So, the cleaning day was over, and we looked back at the work we had done. Not only did we complete the work we set out to do but also delivered over and above. The approximate total of trees planted – 35, over ten kinds of flowers, two little pine trees, five rose bushes near the dorm and a few extra near the main building, lots of raspberries behind the summerhouse, also blackcurrants and grapes…
The only thing was the irises, also known as “cockerels”, the Director mentioned he got enough of his own but hopefully we brought over a different kind of these! Everything else seemed to have hit the spot!
During the event every one of us learned something new. This visit to Kalinovka made a positive impression on everyone thanks to the sunshine, the clear sky, a friendly team, a great welcome and interaction with boys from the Happy Home who are all lovely. I would like to see the people who came to volunteer this time would come back to perform more important and vital tasks that are still outstanding.
It’s worth mentioning that many people who couldn’t take this time also helped out with the organisational side. In general we were really lucky with meeting strangers who provided discounts when they learned about the purpose of our trip. This includes people who sold us saplings, a wonderful driver Andrey who (by chance) was the first person on the list of transport providers when we were looking for an affordable mini-bus. Andrey had also visited Kalinovka before (also by chance) so knew about it first-hand. Also we were lucky with the people who donated the saplings. And with everyone else who showed interest and took part in the event!
I’d like to conclude by quoting Aleksey, one of the cleaning day organisers:
“I would like to thank EVERYONE who took part in landscaping Kalinovka’s grounds. I think we did great. Let’s hope the plants will establish themselves, and years later our trees, flowers and grapes will bring joy to the residents. Kids themselves took active part in the event. They were keen to help and they were so happy to engage with us, so the day was doubly successful. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time, I think most will agree they didn’t want to leave so soon…”
This is the crew, so different but all united by a single purpose!
P.S. The bonus of the trip was a small glade adorned with pine trees. We stopped there to relax for a bit in the fresh air, have a chat and drink Crimean tea from a vacuum flask
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Kalinovka orphanage (Chernigovka district) Publications made by Happy Child, Ukraine Publications of HappyChild foundation Publications with photos Actions and activity of HappyChild foundation, Ukraine Family type home in Kalinovka news, Zaporozhye, Ukraine