James is at the keyboard for today's post.
So, for the first time during our Ukraine adventure, Mary ventured out on her own to get lunch. The target was McDonald's which is not too far from our apartment in Kharkov. After ensuring that our cell phones were charged and ready, Mary set out on her mission. Success! Mary was able to get our lunch order through despite the language barrier and the difficulty that the cashier had with the word "McChicken" even though it sounds the same way in Russian as in English. I guess it must be the accent...
This afternoon, we were able to have another visit with the children. For now, we will refer to them as M (a twelve-year old boy), K (an eleven-year old girl), and R (a ten-year old girl). Since they are in school the Orphanage Director requested that we arrive later in the afternoon so M, K, and R could have a few minutes after school to get ready. When we first arrived, a District Social Worker wanted to meet with us and ask a few questions. We were happy to comply and I spent the next twenty minutes telling him about our family and answering his questions. The interview went rather well and we were then able to meet with the children.
Today, we went outside to visit in the yard. At the Director's request, K started to show us around the yard and explain the different items the children had built. R followed at a distance. They had a frog, pig, bear, elephant, turtle, etc. all made from different items such as tires, wood, and garden hoses. It was all very creative and the yard is well kept. We found a small table with five seats and decided to try and break the ice with a game of UNO. K and M sat down to play but R was reluctant until we started dealing. K moved to sit next to Mary which left an open seat for R between M and K. Evidently, that worked for her so she sat down to play. Of course, she promptly won the first game. They were excited to play again and M won the second game. The children started to open up a little as the game progressed and we were able to learn more about them. It was a good visit and the children said that they would like us to visit again tomorrow. We are looking forward to that. These are great kids!
After our visit with the children, we met with our facilitator Tatyana. We had a great discussion and have some good approaches for our way forward. Tatyana has been a great help so far and we are very grateful for her ability to listen to our concerns, understand them, and help us find solutions. So far, things are looking positive.