Friday, November 7, 2008
Our visit to the Detsky Dom (AKA Ust-Kamenogorsk Children's Home)
One of the things we did this past week was to visit the preschool orphanage here in Ust where our kids from Kazakhstan used to live. Tanya and Max, we saw Mama Luba and she sends her love. We gave her pictures of you both and she was very impressed by how much you've grown! Tanya, she also said that you've become a beautiful young lady. Max, we asked to see Mama Luda, your favorite caregiver, but she wasn't working the day we were there; I left a picture of you for her so she can see how big you've gotten. We asked about Galina Ivanovna, the caregiver who escorted Tanya and the other Kidsave children to Massachusetts in 2003; Galina has retired so we didn't get to see her...but we hear she still takes care of the flowers at the orphanage during the summer, now volunteering her time at the orphanage where she worked for many years. We also saw the orphanage director, Valentina Sergeyevna, who was very happy to see the slideshow I made from some of our family photos. She liked it so much that she asked if she could keep a copy to show some government officials who were coming to inspect the orphanage...just think, now we're all famous in Kazakhstan!
As you can see, we did manage to get a photo of us all; Mama Luba is next to me and Valentina Sergeyevna is on the end. Do you guys remember them? They sure remember you...in fact, Valentina says she still remembers Max because of how much he liked to eat, that he would try to get extra food all the time. Hmmm....some things haven't changed.
The orphanage actually looks great; it's been recently renovated and everything is freshly painted and very clean. The bathrooms have been updated and the children all have new beds, new cupboards, etc. We see the government making a real effort to improve conditions for children here, both in the orphanage system and in schools in general...it's especially gratifying to see the improvements in this orphanage which means so much to us.