Parachute, Beach, Pizza with Kids Becoming Adults

Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
Trip End Jul 16, 2009

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Flag of Ukraine  , Zakarpats'ka Oblast',
Thursday, July 9, 2009

The idea of day camp and Teaching English as a Second Language is working out great.  All the kids from the area are in one place.  There are a lot of fun things to do. The kids love it all.  The day begins with playing in the courtyard:  volleyball, ping pong, playing with balls, badminton.  Then the first activity is English class.  Then more play….then the Bible class and lunch.  After lunch there is more play….then the daily excursion.  All ends with dinner.   Snacks are served through the day.  There are plenty of activities and the day ends up being fun and education-filled event.  Most of the kids go home in the evening while some of those living further out stay at Siloam. 

I started the English class at Dan and Cindy’s.  It begins with a catchy warm-up song….then review and learning of new words.  There is lots of activity for the one and a half hour class and the kids really stay with it the entire time.  We are so blessed to have the computers with the extra-sized monitor to display the Genki program.  It’s a bit humorous as the program is Australian and we hear the Australian accent. 

After the class we get out the "parachute" to try out.  It looks something like a parachute, but lots of team activity can be done with it.  All the kids hold on to it and walk around, manage a ball inside it.  Make a tent with it.  It’s quite ingenious and attracts kids to it and makes them learn to work together. 

After this Ken, Cherie and I sneaked off to the Coffee Shop at the end of the street. It’s a five minute walk and the coffee is great.  We branched out into the cappuccinos this morning.

We came back for the Bible class. Today the lesson was day four and five of creation.  Then songs and prayers.  Everything is well-attended and taken in stride with an obviously positive spirit.   

Then just after class I got my telephone cal l from Bev on my cell phone.  Through Skype she was able to call my GSM phone and we talked for half an hour.  I sure wish she was here for the camp as this is the best way to be with and interact with the kids.  Every day our relationship gets closer.  I see that all four of our Americans communicate quite well with the kids even though there is the language issue. 

After lunch our team of five practiced some songs that we will sing to the chilrdren tomorrow.  The four sing while I play the keyboard.  The songs are hymns from our hymnal.  We will also be doing the songs for services on the Sabbath in Khust. 

Then we go off on our excursion in three vehicles.  The LifeNets van is by far the most reliable vehicle.  The other two—the red one and the old Love of Light Mission vehicle that I thought had long been dead has been resurrected.  We carried 40 children plus eight adults in these barely tottering vehicles.

We went to another beach with water slides. This time in Berehovo….very close to the Hungarian border.  The kids just love water and it’s a good way to vent a lot of energy.  But on the way to Berehovo the old van that should have been buried long ago, stalled.  It was something just waiting to happen.  They were about a kilometer behind us. There was a chaperone Paul from Washington State in that van who was a mechanic. After half an hour it started running again. It had about 20 people in it.  Whew!  It’s amazing how these people operate on the edge like this.  I admire them.  No one else does anything like this with children and hats off to their courage and faith that it can be done.   

While driving I got another Skype call and this time my two granddaughters Alyssa and Elena chattered with the grandpa (me). 

Then we returned to the Center….it was 8:15 PM.  I really wanted to get together with some of the kids that I had known before and was hoping we still could.  Some were there.  Four of us went out to a Pizza place down the street called the “Crocus.”  It was very eye-opening and enjoyable to be with them and hear about what they were doing, their hopes and dream.  They are becoming young adults now and have reached another vulnerable plateau in life.  They really need to get focused on some education so that they have more than menial jobs.  Certainly there is nothing in Vinogradov for them.   We talked seriously about vocational training and further education.  We had a very honest discussion where they shared a lot of very personal observations and thoughts.  I’d like to add a few of these to our LifeNets Developing Nations Scholarship Program. Two of them still have high school to finish.  But, I was talking to them as young adults and not as children.  We have known them since 2001 and have observed them on our five or six trips over here over this period.

I came back home with a lot to think about.  I am going to do something about a very important investment in these young people who were regulars at the soup kitchen and now embarking into another chapter in their lives.   
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