A report from Doug Brendel to all who support or follow our New Thing ministry in Belarus...
A name you canÕt pronounce...
A love you canÕt deny
Repeat after me: Чеховщинская.
CanÕt do it? Try it in English: Chekhovshchinskaya.
Still a problem? LetÕs sound it out together: Check-off-sh-CHIN-sky-ah.
For such a big name, itÕs an awfully tiny village: about 30 houses, with a shrinking population.
But thereÕs one house here unlike all the others.
ItÕs a boarding school for nearly 70 children with physical and mental disabilities. Children from all over the region.
Most of their families are dysfunctional, due to alcoholism, unable to provide care for their disabled offspring.
On top of this, thereÕs a strong stigma associated with disabilities in this culture, so the arrival of a disabled child often breaks a family apart.
In this school, Director Tatiana and a staff of 76 provide round-the-clock care for 68 children.
They work hard to make it a cheerful, bright, home-like environment.
We interrupted absolutely every class in the school — the kids were astonished and delighted to have an American bust up their studies.
Then came the coolest surprise: American chocolate bars for everybody!
The 7th-grade Belarusian language class was all boys (one guy struggling at the chalkboard).
I told them my daughter is in 7th grade, and IÕm looking for a husband for her.
I showed them her photo on my phone, then held it up next to one young manÕs face and said, ÒNice couple!Ó
Look at him blush!
The youngest children received the last of our toys from Green Elephant in Ipswich, Mass.
The windup dancing duck came with its own dancing American.
The school focuses on teaching marketable skills at each childÕs level of ability.
The childrenÕs artwork is quite impressive.
Photos donÕt do justice to the wood-carved pieces in particular.
Economics class. You start with a cow, and ... you build a country!
I was deeply impressed by the warmth of the teachers.
They have an extremely demanding job, yet itÕs clear that they love these children.
Profoundly disabled children have their own very small classes.
The two little guys at left are bubbly, but they donÕt speak.
This young lady was delighted to score the final dancing duck in our dancing duck supply.
With 68 children, you can imagine the laundry!
Our friends at ÒMusic Serving the WordÓ funded a new washer and dryer in 2011.
ÒThe Great KozovayaÓ and I confirmed that the machines are still going strong!
Director Tatiana has worked wonders in 3 years on the job, but the kitchen is sorely in need of help.
Pots, pans, cutlery, and other implements are ancient, and so far below ÒcodeÓ that the government has actually fined the school for noncompliance.
IÕve asked Tatiana to let us know what it will take to make things right. IÕll keep you posted.
Thanks for journeying with us!
More photos to come!
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