An intorduction: This is CBETA (Svyeta), whom I mentioned in yesterday's entry as the girl who got the Bible my daughter sent over.
I woke up this morning and hung out with the kids. It was very similar to my experience working at The Pathway School as a counselor, except the kids there speak English. This experience, along with teaching special education, served me very well during my stay at the orphanage. We then went to a large room for Make a T-shirt with a Kid Day. I made a t-shirt with Spiderman on it and the kids thought it was awesome. As soon as the others saw it, they all started asking me to make Speederman! (How they pronounce Spiderman) t-shirt designs on theirs. I must have made about 40 t-shirts. It was a lot of fun, but I’m nowhere near ready to make a career of it.
Hanging out, I got to spend more time with Николай (student). We talked about many things: clothes, colors, soccer, anatomy…you name it. I would tell him the English name and he would tell me the Russian/Belarussian equivalent. Елена (student, on the right with her teacher) came and sat with us while we talked. She was naturally intrigued. It occurred to me that she is not as hard as she seems, or as hard as, perhaps, she has to seem. I like her because she has spirit.
Now, her friend Люда is truly a hard case. When we made balloon animals with the kids, she took some from the kids, even smaller kids, and stomped on them. At one point, she took a kids sandal and threw it over a fence. Surprisingly, when Brad and I told her to go get it, she did. I see her as a kid who needs a lot more attention than she is getting, so she gets it by being mean to the kids and yelling at them.
Brad just came back to the room and was talking about faith in Belarus. Brad made a statement that I have confidently added to my List of Sentences that Have Never Been Uttered in Human History: “This is the way they do it in Belarus and it’s so much better than how we do it.”
I also got to take my first shower since arriving here. It felt sooooooo good! I don’t even know how much I wanted one. We had tried to take one yesterday, but the showers were all locked up. We even tried to go down to the women’s area last night, but there was a large, angry Belarussian shotputter/night guard who looked at us sternly and kept tapping the face of her watch. Obviously, it was too late…Obviously, she was unhappy. We decided to give up on the dream of a shower for the night.
We did find some open sinks next to the kitchen, so we at least shaved. Cold water, a slim mirror, and flashlights…quite an international experience. Walking back to the rooms, I offered the quote of the day: “Man, it’s so bad, I don’t even remember the last country I showered in.” Hot water never felt as good as it did the next morning when we finally got to shower.
By the way: dinner tonight was an absolute revelation. Sure, there was the obligatory tomatoes and cucumbers with dill (it must come with EVERY meal), but the coup de’ grace was meat-and-vegetable stuffed cabbages. Absolutely wonderful. I went back to the kitchen to thank the cooks personally. They looked at me at first as if to say, “Why are you here?” but lightened up (just a smidge) when I said, “Большой Спасиба!” I think my accent might have been a little better, too…