Saturday, June 26, 2010

Camp

The sun was shining bright as can be this morning. Hardly a cloud in the sky compared to past days which probably meant no rain today. Oh well, it was a beautiful day to be up at the camp even though it would be a hot one. We drove through the Holy Hills to the camp.

The camp is in a summer town that was hustling and bustling with tourists from all over the country. Reminded me of Pismo Beach-- but in the hills not by the ocean.

It didn't take the kids long to spot us and our arrival spread like wild fire through out the camp. Faces we thought we may never see again suddenly appeared and we picked up where we last left off.

The camp was different than what I expected--- it was more like a boarding school-- but with a soccer field, basketball court, and swimming pool.

We saw these cute cartoon like statues everywhere.

The boys wanted to impress us with their riding skills as they all shot past us on their bikes. I counted at least six.

This is the first building we walked into. On the second floor is the cafeteria. John followed Pasha into eat lunch later in the day and was happy to see rice, meat, veggies, bread, cheese, and compote on the kids' plates.
Here is a very sweet eleven year old girl named Nastya. She has a fifteen year old sister.
Luda was happy to show me where her and her friends sleep.

Luda introduced me to her friend Oksana who is only eleven years old. She too has an incredibly sweet disposition and it was like Luda was advocating for her.

Out in the halls of where the older kids sleep is where the kids hang out during the day. My heart broke to see the interaction going on between these kids. Too much skin, sitting too close, inappropriate language, and the smell of cigarettes on the boys' breath. I was not shocked to see this-- but it was hard to not feel helpless. Just a few minutes earlier when I had first seen Luda, I thought her shorts were a little to low on her hips so I walked up to her and picked them up and gave her the "you should know better and I care about you so this why I picked them up" look. With her, I feel comfortable doing so having spent numerous days with her at the Internat-- but with these strange kids from other Internats, I felt I would be overstepping my bounds. So instead I offered to take their picture and straightened out their clothes and asked them to show their teeth when they smiled. It broke the ice and I got them to reposition their clothing without them really catching on.

I was surprised when we were offered water from the faucets. The kids drank it and since their was the strong smell of chlorine John and I felt it would be safe.

Here is a beautiful painting on one of the buildings in the camp.

I passed out these necklaces to a few of the girls. Our daughter Nastya had already ran off with her two friends to put hers away in her room so I took a picture of the girls that stuck around. The two girls in black are sisters ages 11 and 15.

Luba seemed sad today. Rachel said it was because her tooth hurt. I am not so sure. For some reason I got the sense that she realized what she was missing by not having a family and my heart ached for her in ways I wish it didn't.

Pasha is loving our attention. He always wants to be around us and especially loves having a Papa. John said he saw Pasha smile bigger than ever when they went on a walk and John asked to hold Pasha's hand and then began singing in Russian something like, "Ya Lyblu Pasha! Eta Musica Fantastica!" John kept singing it louder and louder and got the other kids to join in to. Pasha loved it!

When it was time for lunch, the caretakers would march the kids to the cafeteria while singing a song. It was fun to watch. Even the older kids did it to.

Doesn't you know who look too cool for school? When it was time to go, Caleb gave his glasses to one of the older boys. It was a very nice gesture considering that Caleb loves those glasses. But Caleb also knew that it probably wasn't as much as the boy would love them.

On the drive out of the town, we passed this building. I thought it was cool.

In the hills you could see this huge statue of a man.
The town we were in is also famous for having the oldest church in all of the region.
On the drive home, I slept. Just a few minutes ago, I called home and talked to most of the kids. It was nice hearing their voices. Lots of love to all.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad these kids get to hang out with your family for a little. It's so heartbreaking to think how lonely these kids are. Thanks for advocating for these kids and ALL kids. You're pretty AMAZING. xo Lin

Amy...who wanted 4. said...

Your stories on these kids are killing me. I just want to mother them so badly.
Good for you in fixing their clothes! lol I probably would have done the same thing.
thanks for sharing your stories with us....I love them.

Anonymous said...

dear mom and dad,
It is so cool that you got to go to the camp and see different things. I miss you all and i can not wait for you to come back!!!
Love
Annalyn Reed

Jamey & Catherine said...

It sure sounds like the kids have a lot of spare alone time when they are at camp. I too would have tried to do what you did and re-position their clothes. Hopefully Luda will remember your loving guestures to her as well. :) I love that Caleb gave his sunglasses away, especially to a boy who may never have another pair of his own. Great Post thanks!
Catherine

Anonymous said...

Is God calling you to bring Luba back? Is this even possible. I wish my hubby and I (just 28) were an appropriate age to adopt her! Seems so sweet.

Laura said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. I am in awe of how prepared you are with crafts, jewelry, activities for ALL the kids!

The Reeds are leaving their mark in the hearts of all the children...and it sounds like the children are leaving marks in your hearts. God is good.

Blessings to you ~ and to your family back home waiting to open their arms and hearts to Nastya and Pasha.

~Laura

MoonDog said...

sounds like you had a great visit! you just have a way with mothering these kids. the ones who dont have a mother I mean. getting them to straighten up without having to say straighten up! is really special. It is so hard to see all the other little ones in our kids groupoo and know we cant take them home. we tried to love them and play with them and give them SOME attention but it didnt seem we did any good, they were wild little monsters. but guess what happened when we came back the next day? the tough love I was giving CHANGED THEM. they hit, then I wouldnt play with them. they pushed down a child with mental disabilities then I play with THAT child and not the pusher. it broke my heart to think these little animals were so wild and I made no difference. coming back the next day, the BIGGEST STINKER IN THE BUNCH came to me for hugs and kisses and was gentle and kind! you are making a huge difference in their young lives. your mothering for a day might be the thing that keeps them from prostitution or drugs later. I hope all the little monsters will remember us too lol

Joan (Nana) said...

Thanks for sharing your visit to the camp. Still praying for your journey to bring your children home. You may want to read my daughters last post on her blog, about adding more children to the family. myshelbybaby.blogspot.com

Kelly said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that sometime soon the Reeds might just be adding a certain 15 year old into their family...just a suspicion. Glad you are having such a wonderful trip. Is there a possibility your wait may be waived tomorrow? I hope so!!

Hevel said...

Camp looks a whole lot like the "pioneer cities"... probably it had been one. I used to vacation at a camp (Formerly known as the Zánka Pioneer City) in Hungary as a kid.

Matt Penman said...

Christine,

It is so amazing that you are at the same camp that we met Sarah. We might have walked by your kids without even knowing it. Your trip has brought back so many memories for all of us. Sarah is trying to process all of it, and with God's help, she will overcome! :)

Love,
Jennifer