Mom and me with the Borsch soup! the color was more vivid and delicious looking than this picture allows.
one of the translators braided my hair. it.looked. awesome!
The absolutely beautiful crafts done. everything in this picture is homemade. Including the strips of fabric making up the table. They are squares that can be stuffed and made into pillows.
Breakfast, with tea and sugar cubes. No pics though since some authorities were sitting at the table next to us. rule one: avoid drawing attention to self.
Then back to the room for a short impromptu nap before leaving for the day. It was not planned. I made the mistake of sitting down. Oops.
Back at the center, we had a light lunch or homemade Borsch soup!!! It was delicious. I had two bowls!! Dessert was this dense marshmallow type cream puff, only with 10x the amount of sugar. This kind was half vanilla half strawberry. Each sugary sweet bite melted in your mouth. Perfect with black tea.
Before the kids started coming in, one of the directors showed us her craft room. The things she stitched and sewed were absolutely beautiful. Flowers on pillows. Stuffed animals. Patterns on pillows. Then these little petaled flowers and roses that were made of ribbon and sewed together. She took us into the other room with some supplies and showed us how to make these!!!! It was so fun. She would say something and then show us this complicated little bit. Then the translators would translate and we would scuffle around trying to do it too. Together though we made the 21 petals needed and then two of us stitched together a yellow and a pink rose. It is so pretty! While we were doing that she showed the others how to make little flower petals in some crazy way with pearl beads in the center. This woman is so creative! It’s amazing what she can make. Putting creativity and beauty into a mix with functionality. We thanked her for her time. She was the one that made the borsh too! She is like everybody’s grandmother, everyone’s at the same time. She takes a bus into Ivanavo from over a couple hours away (each way) two days a week to come and teach crafts and sewing to the girls. This week she came in every day. She was previously at the orphanage…and abruptly was no longer permitted. I get the impression that it was very difficult. She does a lot more than just sewing here at the center that’s for sure. This country may not express much in the way of verbal assurance, but she shows it in her time and sharing of her gifts and talents.
Today I gave a talk on healthy lifestyles. I had maybe 10. Some boys and mothers mixed together. I started out talking a bit about nutrition and proper ways to eat. Reviewing a bit that I had brushed on previously, esp when a translator had told me that a lot of this information is new. That went well, I targeted girls who want to lose weight and boys who want to gain. Proportion and frequency was stressed too.
Then after that, per request of the directors, I talked about the health problems of smoking and drinking. The first half went well, then the arguing began. It began with jokes about how they feel just fine, can run just fine, and workout just fine. I maintained some control and forged ahead. Pausing frequently for my translator to repeat what I said. I brought a few pictures along too, a couple scary looking lungs, then a couple about brain/body activity level. As I continued talking the questions became, what if they don’t quit? Why should they? They look fine and healthy and young now. I tried responding, but ended up skipping the whole carbon monoxide is a poison and causes more wrinkles and so forth and instead barely got a “For now” translated in response before they launched on. It started crumbling a little when a couple more Americans and translators came into help. A rumor/thought was that second hand smoke is worse for you, so if your going to get exposed to these things anyways, why not smoke? We did our best to dispel this through explaining. Judy also reminded them (via translator) that this is not me judging them or being upset. I was asked to come here and present what I was educated on). I ended, emphasizing not to smoke around their kids or while pregnant (same with drinking) and that it is their choice, I just want them to know what’s going on.
Then I went and hid with a cup of tea in the other room. Phew. Dealing with these issues AND translations is tough! I understood why they were upset. Their frustration was due to the nature of the discussion, hopefully not towards me.
After all of this, mom did not have time for any activity and we had dinner. Hot dogs, rice, and veggies again. Thank goodness for the veggies. I am ashamed to say that I was just so darn full that I snuck the last third of the hot dog type (the size of 3 of one in the US) into my empty yogurt container. I know, not the best thing to do. If one of the directors had been at the table, you can bet I would have found room in my stomach though.
We ended the evening with all the staff sitting around a table, sipping tea and talking between the team and the staff about what they do. Just hearing about the programs they run and the general role they play. It was very interesting, they have a small staff that does more than what they say. Two directors that are there the most, with the lady who does crafts, a computer lady that comes in twice a week, child psychologist (I think), a social worker/case worker (not there constantly) , the gym teacher (who only works with the guys and comes in 2x a week) (he is a gruff man but good hearted, he wants to just give the boys something that will keep them off the street). P and W (two guys on the team) had demonstrated GoRuck, talking about the muscle strength and endurance as well as the mental, and the emphasis it puts on team building. They did this at the tech school and it really (really) impressed the gym teacher. I thought that was pretty awesome how they got this manly stuff talked about too.
Home to the tourist hotel ( still frequented with police. I didn’t mention the communications truck parked outside this morning.) We still walked to the mall to visit with the kids who come by to talk with us if we are there. A few of these I remember from last time when I was here at the orphanage. It was kind of awesome to see how well some of them are doing, these three at least. I long for more translators, even though this was overtime.
There is never enough time though.