We're back - day three!
Winter appears to be over but spring has not yet arrived. It's this in-between season of bleakness accentuating the drab surroundings; no blanket of snow or carpet of grass to camouflage the greys and the litter on the roadsides. Nothing appears to have changed much - perhaps only the bigger potholes. We had to take the long way around to Molochansk because the usual route was virtually impassible. But this is the cursory glance. Coming to the entry of the Mennonite Centre we look down to see some exquisite yellow flowers poking their heads through last year's dry and crumpled leaves. I had to think of our dear friend Dianne's appreciation for "small wonders".
The big wonder though was the warm welcome we received when we entered the doors. Many hugs and exclamations - not all understood! An invitation to supper and also breakfast. Then hugs from the "cookie lady" when we went shopping. What more can we ask for?
Our hearts are touched by many needs. At breakfast this morning we watched across the street as a Babushka went through a small roadside dumpster and walked away with numerous packages. Yesterday a father and mother with their nine year-old son came to the Centre asking for assistance. Sasha had been badly burned in an explosion several years ago. The little fellow has had numerous surgeries. What was obvious was his neck - a patchwork of criss-crossing skin pulling in different directions. He is growing and the skin isn't able to stretch. Apparently there is medical/surgical help available in Dnepropetrovsk, but is costly. Friends and neighbors are contributing as well as the parents taking out a loan. Would we be willing to help? Yesterday 80 pensioners came for a hot meal. Our capable cook, Ira, had made chicken and kasha. She told us that the pensioners had all wrapped up their chicken bones to "take home and give to their dogs". Not only is Ira a wonderful cook, she has also started a group for Moms with kids with disabilities. They had a meeting at the Centre today where they celebrated the "Moms", in keeping with International Women's Day this week. Much is made of this celebration including school closure for two days and women everywhere being presented with flowers. I was photographer for the event.
These few words are an attempt at answering the question "what are you going to be doing there?" We don't know for sure what each day brings as we continue our presence here.