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Photo report: Two Saturdays with the Children of Vol’nyansk Orphanage

October 15, 2007, 0:05 8080 Author: Albert Pavlov, translated from Russian by Natalia Guzenko www.deti.zp.ua You can never learn anything bad from mother-nature. You should just listen to the silence of the forest and the purl of the stream, and you know that your soul is becoming more pure. And after all, what can be better than talking by the fire or having a walk to the stream?

During the summer holidays most of the orphanages are empty – the children go to summer camps by the seaside. Part of the orphans of Vol’nyansk orphanage of Zaporozhye region also have rest in the camp at the seaside of the Sea of Azov, and about 80 children remained at the summer camp not far from Zaporozhye. In order to cheer up the kids, we decided to make some competitions and quizzes for them with the help of a clown at one of the weekends. We also took our chances and passed them the presents that were sent to us from the sponsors abroad.

On Saturday, 4th August 2007, trying to find our way along the cross-country roads, we reached the camp. The camp consists of several buildings not far from Shevchenkovo village, it is situated in a very quite and cozy place. Near the camp there is a small pond and a beach. The kids were already waiting for us. Yet we counted only 40 kids out of 80. First the kids were not very active and didn’t hurry to take part in the competitions, still the mood got better, and we could see the cheerful sparkle in their eyes. The senior pupils performed break dance for us, they performed somersault and some other astonishing stunts.

Some kids were drawing pictures with chalk on the bitumen. At that time we were talking to the director of the orphanage, Evgeniy Vasilyevich. He informed us, that kids are often entertained here, though it’s not rare for them to get bored. So today’s holiday was just up to the point. Evgeniy Vasilyeavich also told us that this year there will be a computer class opened in the orphanage, where the children will have the possibility to be educated according to special programs that improve the faculties of mind. (taking into account that some orphans have mental retardation, though some have only mild mental retardation.)

At the end of the entertaining program there was some sweet food for the kids. Trademark “Kisson” kindly provided the sweet drinks for the children, and “Pan Kruasan” trademark provided their delicious products. The girls that can embroider received some accessories for stitchcraft. Everyone was glad to receive balls, stationery and clothes, that was sent by kind American women Emmy and Diana.

Exactly in a week, on August 11th, 12 major pupils of Vol’nyansk orphanage came to the excursion to Hortitsa island. The mini van for transporting the children was provided by one of the constant sponsors of the orphanage – the brew house “Slavutich”. First the kids visited the museum of Zaporozhye kozaks, the listened to the tour guide. Unfortunately, not all of the children behaved well during the excursion – a couple of guys were constantly whispering and commenting the guide’s words, in such a way disturbing the guide.

After visiting the museum there was the excursion to the museum complex “Zaporozhye Sich” – it is the recent reconstruction of Zaporozhye Sich. Basically, most of the kids were interested in it. Only two teenagers were misbehaving and disturbing the others in spite of our remarks. Next time we decided to perform more thorough selection of the children, and to leave such “saboteurs” in the camp.

Getting little tired from the excursions we at last got down to the Dnieper River. The kids could bathe, play volleyball and cook some sausages on the fire. We (me and my wife Lena) had a possibility to get acquainted with the kinds in a proper way. Children were talking to us in a friendly way. But they are talking among themselves in a terrible way. Dirty language is the usual thing present during the communication of the guy with his girlfriend.

And one can even clip the girl on the back of the head. Smoking in front of the governess is also a usual thing. We had to insist on no one smoking by us – the teenagers agreed with great unwillingness. At the same time, talking to these guys and girls face to face one can notice, that these mature children still demand some love, attention and understanding. A lot of them are behaving in a provoking manner just in order to look like everyone else.

17-y.o. Julia astonished us: seeing a 1 y.o. toddler, she started to nurse him, feed and play with him. Then she told us that she would gladly adopt such kid. “I won’t have my own children. And I am not going to get married” – Julia said. But the mystery is, what was such categorical opinion caused with.

We also remembered the communication with graduate Yana – she was different from her peers in a really good way. It’s not surprising, that “Slavutich” employ Yana and two other girls for a high salary - $300 and more, and give them the living. Usually best of the best students of the orphanage work at “Slavutich” – these are the pupils, whom the tutors trust.

Just a month left for Yana to begin her adult life – she will leave the orphanage where she spent approximately 10 years. This event gladdens Yana and at the same time frightens with the fear of the future. It is very important for such girls as Yana to receive a kind advice, parents’ help and support. But Yana is deprived of all this. The apartment, that she was living in before, was sold by her relatives. The only thing left is to turn herself in, to hope that there will be kind people on her life path, and to hope for the Lord’s help.

By the evening sitting by the fire and eating recently baked potatoes the kids became more easy-going. They were talking about the idea that they would like to be more often at the river side or just at the nature. They continued hiding behind the rock and smoking, though they were talking with each other not so rudely and aggressively, and we could hardly ever hear dirty words. And in the bus on our way back there was almost silence – everyone could hear pleasant tiredness because of the kilometers they walked and everyone was thinking about this day.

We again made sure that little strokes fell great oaks, and such programs with the group of children always bring positive results. For you can never learn anything bad from mother-nature. You should just listen to the silence of the forest and the purl of the stream, and you know that your soul is becoming more pure. And after all, what can be better than talking by the fire or having a walk to the stream?

We’ll be glad, if we will be able to find the people who wish to make such picnics traditional. At this case we are talking not about the financial support, but about the help to organize. Because of the small quantity of volunteers so far we are not able to organize such entertaining programs more often than once a month. With your help the situation will change for better. The volunteers may write to the e-mail: detizp@mail.ru or phone: +3 8 066 513 34 35

Albert Pavlov

Translated by Natalia Guzenko from Kherson

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