Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 6: Part 1

Note: I'm having a hard time writing about my experience - it was so life-changing and words cannot do it justice. I'm still working to absorb, reflect, and digest. It's very different going for the purpose of adoption versus going this time to give back.

Alas, I was sick for several hours. I realized it was probably a combo of something I ate and not drinking enough the day before. I was up for awhile sipping on water, sitting in the bathroom, and wishing desperately to feel better. Finally I went back to bed and fell back asleep. I was scheduled for the 5 a.m. shower and tried so very hard to get up but was too sick. I ended up missing all of the morning activities while my awesome friend and roomie, Jillian, nursed me back to health and kept me company.

It was about 12 hours or a little more before I started really feeling like myself again but I was determined to be at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the playground. We got dressed up and were picked up by Edick. He told us that he needed to go home and change - he lives in the mountains.
The drive was gorgeous (though I'll admit that my stomach wasn't so sure at times :)) and Jillian and I enjoyed our own private tour of the mountains (Mount Medeo). Andrew and I had been there before on a snowy, fall day and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. I loved seeing it in the spring! It was such a clear day and we could see for miles. We drank in the fresh mountain air and enjoyed the views while Edick was inside.

(Jillian & Me - a sad attempt at self-photography)

We shared many laughs and discussed different cars. The language barrier was overcome through broken English, broken Russian, and hand motions. It was so fun and is a time I will never forget. I was so happy that Jillian's sacrifice in staying with me was rewarded with a very cool sightseeing excursion.


We went to the Children's Home for an emotional last day. The kids were delighted to see us after we hadn't been there on Thursday. Our team had printed pictures of the kids from our week and the children were delighted to have photos of themselves - something so small and yet something we take completely for granted. These photos quickly became treasured belongings as I'm certain most of them have very few pictures of themselves. They swarmed us to ask us to take more pictures, to "borrow" our cameras, and to give us hugs. I had a chance to see two of the boys who had completely stolen my heart during the week (a 10 year-old and a 16 year-old). I was so happy to have a chance to get a photo with each. Their shy smiles and delight gave me so much joy and yet, it was mixed with profound sadness.



The ribbon-cutting ceremony was full of speeches - including the declaration that this was like a holiday. There were many heartfelt words and I unsuccessfully choked back tears. The week was so meaningful. These kids so deeply touched our hearts and lives. Yes, we gave them a playground but they gave us so much more.

(The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony)

(The kids at the ceremony)

After the ceremony, we passed out ice cream that had been donated by a local company. The kids were eager for the sweet treat and eager to play on the playground. They smiled and shouted and had such a good time.

And then it was time for goodbyes. Even now, I can't really write about what it was like to have to say goodbye and to drive away from the Children's Home - even now, tears fill my eyes. I will never forget those sweet kids and I really hope to go back.

(Evidently I didn't get the look at the camera memo. :))


Heather L. said...

Just want to say i've loved seeing pics of your trip and hearing all about it.

Andrew said...

I couldn't decide whether to ask for more photos or more narrative, so I'll ask for both! :)

Mama10EE said...

I finally got a chance to read about all 6 days...what a life changing experience, even for your readers! It brings to mind the youth trip we took to the Ukraine while I was in high school. I can hear all the emotions in you voice as I read and I am sure it was so hard to walk away from those precious kids. Looking forward to hearing more!