Letters from Kalinovka – January 2013

From Lilya

Lilia has been holding beads handicraft classes for several years and now with little dwellers of the first Happy Home adaptation group. Lilia also involves children in drawing, especially Sergey and Artyom. Someone has even presented them with an easel. One could hardly imagine five years ago that these “learning-disabled” children who didn’t even have toys would create their own little masterpieces…

Lilya (pg 1)

Dear Tanya!

(Lilya addressed her letter to Tanya, who is an old friend. It was easier for her to address it to a friend rather than write to everyone in our Maya’s Hope family!)

How are you? How’s your health? What’s new at your work?
We’re fine, as always. Yesterday the boys made some new beaded crafts. Sergey mastered a new technique of beadweaving and now actively participates in the process. Sasha also tries.

Lilya (pg 2)

Vlad (this is our new boy who moved into our house after Alesha left to America) also likes to put beads on the wire. Every time when I was in their part of the building, Vlad did not want to sit still. But now, he’s probably following other kids’ example, he can sit still for a long time and he is not drooping the beads.
Alexey Romanov always weaves the twiglets from the large beads. He is constantly wobbling from side to side, but when he puts another bead on the wire, he stays still for a second and then just puts it exactly on the wire.

Lilya (pg 3)

Sergey Polukhin had a birthday last month. We baked a cake and shared it with other children and everybody who stopped by to congratulate Sergey! He received several gifts, which made him very happy! It was noisy and fun! I think he will remember this day forever! It was the first birthday Party in his life.

It was also nice to tell him congratulations from his friends in England and America!

Lilya (pg 4)

I was working the night shift two days ago; the boys were doing puzzles and playing on the computer. Suddenly we heard a sound outside. We opened the door and saw a cat. The cat quietly walked into the room and began to meow for food. We found some food in the fridge and gave it to him; the eating cat fascinated the kids. They surrounded and spoke to him with such a sweet voice! It was very touching!

The kids also love to ride the special bikes with manual transmission and with the baskets big enough to fit a small passenger. It allows the kids to travel long distance than on a wheelchair and also gives them a new horizons.

Lilya (pg 5)

Everything is the same at home. I just started the renovations. The girls were on the school break! Ilona celebrated her sixteenth birthday two weeks ago.

Lera has shown her ability as a fashion designer. Evenings are now longer; we spend less time outside that gives us more time to communicate with the kids and engage them in different types of creativity.
It’s time to finish my letter.

All the best. Bye-bye. Lily.

(and another one!)

Lilia (pg 1)

Hello, Tanya!

I decided to write another letter without receiving one from you. How are you? How is your health? How is your family?

Last week at work we had received guests from America! Two lovely girls – Maya and Justina. They spent a lot of time with the kids. They socialized and played with them. The boys are now talking about them non-stop!

Lilia (pg 2)

Today is my last night at the house. As I’m writing the letter, each of the boys is busy doing his own thing. Serezha is playing a computer game. Artem is giving him constant pointers. Ruslan and Maxim laid out some puzzles. Alesha is admiring his new watch, which he received as a present for his birthday. Oleg is spending a suspicious amount of time in front of the parakeet cage. We’ve already had to catch them on numerous occasions after they’ve been let out.

Everyone is dressed in pajamas, freshly bathed, rosy and sweet. It’s cozy, light and warm! For me it’s difficult and sad to leave such a dorm. I will spend many long, winter evenings wondering what each of them is doing at the moment. I love them very much!

We have taken a new direction in our beading work. We’re learning to make 3-dimensional figurines out of beads. I must note, Sasha has shown great skill in this activity. This makes me happy. Beading teaches to work toward a goal. In the past I couldn’t keep the boys long enough to finish, but now they won’t leave me alone!

In my house everything is the same. The girls are counting the days till the Christmas holidays. The weather has been warm, which gives us an opportunity to finish some work in the garden. I have a lot of free time now during my vacation.

I’ll finish up my letter now. I wish you health and well-being.

Bye! Please write!


(Translation by Kat Dudina)

From Raisa

Raisa is our new educator. She has the group of children with the greatest challenges. Since May last year she’s been caring for eighteen physically and mentally disabled children ages 11-21 who can barely crawl around on the floor.

Many children of this “crawl” group are rather aggressive; they often hit each other and break toys. Some children can do puzzles or colour pictures. One must always keep an eye on every child, however! During my stroll with nine children, accompanied by two volunteers from the USA, I could hardly keep my eye on these little balls of fire! It was tricky to catch one of the boys who was running around the tied goat while trying to avoid its horns!
-Mariya at Happy Child

Raisa (pg 1)

Hello, Dear Friend,

I would like to share my joys and sorrows with you.

In the last month we’ve had a happy event – Oleg Panosly started speaking some words. He whispers them, but they’re clear enough to understand. He calls kids by name – Sasha, Zhenya; started describing pictures in books – tree, house, book.

Oleg Seregin started dressing himself, little by little.

It’s too bad the kids break the toys – they have not learned to value them.

On St Nicholas day we had a concert – a group came to perform from Chernigovka. The children listened well.

There are no bad news from the orphanage.

At home everything is fine, except my father is really ill.

Happy Christmas holidays to you!

Caretaker, R. I. Gudenko from dorm #3.

(Translation by Kat Dudina)

Also, check out this article Mariya (our partner at Happy Child Ukraine) wrote this month, to introduce all the educators and caregivers at Kalinovka. It has many photos and videos!

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