Monday, November 7, 2011

Draft Posts Published out of order

I'm not sure how it happened, but in reveiwing my Blog Posts, I found a few drafts that were never published. So I published them now, even though they  are out of order. My blogging has not been very good lately as my Early Intervention Position and some personal issues have kept me very busy this fall. I apologize to my readers/supporters but especially to the children whose stories I want to tell!

Lost boys of ROMINIV, lost no more.(June 2011)

We traveled a few hours out of Kiev and met up with Oksana Shulyak who took us another hour to meet with the director of Rominv, a Level 3 internat out in the middle of nowhere. 13 years ago, Nickaychuk Vasiliy, became director of this internat for boys, ages 3-18, who had mental retardation. At that time the boys were dying at the rate of 12 per year. Conditons were inhumane. There was no heat in the winter, cold water to bathe the boys, black walls, horrific conditions. Nickaychuk addressed he sanitantion co9nditons and had built a state of the arts facility for bathing the boys, and washing their laundry which greatly decreased the rate of contamination. He built a new kitchen facility where they make their own bread, and noodles. He has livestock on the grounds for fresh milk and meat; chickens for eggs. The boys are fed healthy meals daily. They are now working on the 'day center' for the boys daily recreation and exercise. As a result the boys sleeping condtions are crowded, but clean and comfortable, but during the day they must remain outdoors. Approximately, 50 boys remain outdoors, in a fenced in basketball court, all day, with no shelter from the hot sun, no water to quench their thirst. As a result, the boys have 'shut down', many lying on the ground in the fetal position, others pacing back and forth. It is so unfair yet the director feels helpless with the assets he has to do anything else. But the positive thing is that he is asking for help! He would like me to come back and train his staff, help design a sensory room and develop an educational program. But he urgently needs funds to complete the renovations before the cold weather arises! These boys need  both an indoor and an outdoor playground which encourages movement, sensory exploration, exercise and fun! Due to a total lack of experience with toys and materials, I need to come with a plan to provide materials and activities to enhance active learning experiences, and to keep 80 boys stimulated all at the same time!! Boys who have sat all day, day after day, night after night, week after week, with nothing to look at, nothing to explore and nothing to do! Our team has ideas: a dental hygienist to treat their teeth and gum disease, MUSIC, DVD's, murals, a sensory room, a gym, an outdoor playground, visits from Almaz Church members and training for the staff.

Our visit to Znamenka (June 2011)

We had the opportunity to return to Znamenka, a level 5 orphanage, this time bringing some old and new team mebers. Dan Peters had been there previously to help Dave Daulton, from a ather's Heart, to build a playgoround a few years back. It was fun to locate their pictures hanging on the wall. This time we had the privelidge of meeting with Tatiana, t he Director, who is responsible for tturning the entire orphanage around.Whereas a few years back, they had wings with no electricity or water, now the place is cheery and homey for the children. You are able to see the love that she and the staff have for the children. These children, many who only had a twisted body, have spent their lives behind walls. When we first arived, we were treated to typical Ukrainian hospitality and offered a breakfast, which was welcomed after our 4 hour train ride. Then we were entertained by the children, who sang hymns (the first to our Mother Mary)  and folksongs, recited poetry and then posed for pictures with us. Olya and Sasha brought the littlest missionary, their baby daughter Teresa, and many of the children were in awe and wanted to hold her as they never saw a baby before! God Blessed Teresa with a great disposition and she smiled and gurgled as she was passed from one child to another. So many of the children have now become familiar faces, and we are hoping to get as many of them as possible up on site for adoption. It still amazed me everytime I heard the age of the children, as their bodies were stunted from malnutrition and lack of nuturing. I made it a point to hug and touch as many of the children as I could, and their faces just lit up with each stroke or pat.

Almaz Church ministers to Rominiv Boys!

http://youtu.be/LsURiPKxXgc

I was so excited to get this video from Pastor Sasha Skripak whom I have partnered with in the Ukraine. His Church, Almaz, has been welcomed by the Director and just last weekend visited and brought supplies for the boys! The boys look sadder as they try to stay warm as the cooler weather of autumn descends upon this rural orphanage , but they look so happy to have visitors. So much now is happening since our visit with Oksana from Mission to Ukraine in June of 2011. There is now a wonderful woman Emily Wallace, an Occupational Therapist volunteering with the boys through MTU, teaching the boys in small groups! The barriers are down, and the boys are lost no more. Please go to this link to watch the video! It's so exciting to be involved and I am so looking forward to returning ASAP. I will be starting to fund raise soon so please follow along. If anyone has helmets to protect the head from self abuse and seizures, we desperately need six of them for specific boys there! Please contact me at sanflan@ptd.net.