One month ago, Ukraine closed its borders and will continue to be on quarantine through May 11. Since that time, all of the children in the orphanage were sent “home” to their guardians and are supposed to be distance learning for the remainder of the school year. (Distance learning is close to impossible for these children, whose households do not have computers, internet, etc. However their orphanage teachers are in contact with them by phone, and they are doing what they can in such difficult circumstances.) We asked how can we help the children? The answer was clear and swift – bring food. So, Inna and Lena leapt into action, bought groceries, made up food parcels and received today’s list of the families that needed them immediately. Here’s what they said about their day:
This day was very blessed! God was with us and helped us find every remote village and family. He sent people to direct us, who were very nice and explained to us the best way to go. We visited and drove through endless villages literally all day long! We had to find 16 separate households to reach 34 children. Thankfully, 7 of the homes were in Shpola town itself, but the other 9 households were each in a different tiny village with no road signs.
Everyone was so happy to see us. We got to see the kids and their parents, grandparents or guardians – and we saw the poor living conditions the children came "home" to. The children and their guardians were very glad to see us; and were probably even happier to have the big food parcels we brought to them, as they really needed it.
Naturally we gave each child a small bag of candy, and each family received a big food parcel containing 1 kilo each of: pasta, oatmeal, flour, rice, porridge, buckwheat and sugar. We also included cans of pork and other meat, bottles of sunflower oil, packages of cookies and tea. Thanks to a donation of books from a Christian publisher, we also included coloring books and markers for each child, and an encouraging book for adults.
One of the oldest girls (Nadia) didn't want to come out from her house because she thought that her younger sister (Karina) was kidding when she said we were at their house. Their great grandfather thought that we arrived to take girls back to the orphanage. All the children want to go back.
We thought, will the kids run to hug us, or will we be able to keep distance? Well, some of them did hug us – it was such an unexpected surprise for them to see us. But since we were wearing masks, that probably reminded some of them to keep their distance. But you know, when a child runs and hugs you, what can be done? We are exhausted, but we have had such a great day, Praise the Lord!