This was one of the art projects that we did with the kids. It was a tactile activity for them with sand art. The Belarussian children are extremely artistic and they are very detailed in their work. We actually had to cut out some of our art activities because they try to be so detailed.
On the last day we opted to go with some of the staff on their home visits rather than go on a sight seeing tour they had set up for us. Three ladies visit 80 families each week to deliver groceries and feed or bathe children. Sometimes they just go to homes to talk with the mothers and lend them a kind shoulder.
The older lady you see in this picture is 75 years old. She has trouble walking. The girl in the picture is her grandaughter. She is actually a twin, but you can't see her sister in this picture. They are both completely bedridden now. Had they been given wheelchairs early on and some physical therapy, they could probably do some things on their own. Unfortunately, their bones and muscles have twisted up from years of lying in this bed. This is the only bed the family owns. The grandmother sleeps with them. Their parents abandoned them early on, so when their grandmother becomes unable to care for them, there is no one to help them. The church is trying desperately to find a solution.
I wish I had a picture of this little girl smiling. Her smile lights up the whole room! She is around eleven years old. Yes, that is a baby stroller she is sitting in. It is very difficult and very expensive to find even the most primitive wheelchairs here. They do the best they can with what they have. There was another child at this center that also stayed in a baby stroller. The center has a stroller and the parents have a stroller. When they come to the center, one of the male staff members will carry them up the stairs and get them settled in for the day.
This is a really blurry picture, but I was trying hard to be discreet. These are military patrol units that walk the streets several times a day. They have stations every couple of miles and they do nothing but patrol the area looking for anything they can find. The week before we arrived, they actually raided a church where another team was teaching English to adults. The teams were very lucky and got away with a fine of 12 dollars and they were deported. It could have been much worse!
I thought I would leave you with one of my favorite pictures. This is a parachute that we took with us. It glows in the dark and the kids went nuts over it! We borrowed it from one of our town's schools where one of our team members heads up the CDC classroom. We decided to all pitch in and purchase the school a new one and we left this one there for the kids. It's hard to tell from this picture, but the gentleman in the far left of this picture was overcome with excitment when we did this. He squealed with laughter the whole time. Most of these kids don't even like to smile, so it isn't hard to see why this quickly became one of my favorite pictures.