Letter from Maria Honcharenko, Shirokolanovka Orphanage,
Letter sent to Bettsy Madison Williams, Missoula, Montana, from
Shirokolanovka, Ukraine, former German vilalge of Landau, Beresan
Our Dear Friends!
Greetings to all of you from Landau. The winter holidays, which
were very pleasant and enjoyable this year, have finished. The children
had one-month vacation. There were still 87 children left at the
orphanage to be taken care of.
We have organized a New Year's Tree celebration for them and they
spent a lot of time celebrating around the tree. The children like
the New Year holiday very much. With what joy they get themselves
ready for the holiday: they make festoons to decorate the rooms,
install and decorate the New Year tree (usually a fir or a pine),
make fancy dresses, prepare the holiday program.
The staff prepares presents and the festive food for the children.
Besides we had frosty and snowy winter, which is indeed a great
joy for the kids.
During the holidays we received presents from you. Jan. the 3rd
there came the $800 transfer. We spent some part of that total on
the Christmas holidays: we bought candies and fruit for the festive
table. Jan. the 6th several guests from Odessa came to our place.
They brought 2 parcels sent by your compatriot Lina Balderson in
summer. According to the Orthodox calendar we celebrate Christmas
on Jan. 7. So it had been a great joy for the children after they
came back from the church when we handed out to them toys and clothes
she had sent to us. But those were not all holiday surprises.
Jan. 19, on the Epiphany we received whole 5 parcels from Elizabeth
Williams. There was a real treasure - lots of gifts both for the
elder and the younger children. The children were overjoyed.
In the name of all the children I extend our gratitude to all those
people who spend so much of their heart warmth, kindness and money
to improve the life of these desolate children. You gave them the
opportunity to feel there are many kind people in the world.
For the time being the children go on learning, they study and work
at the workshops.
We are waiting for the real spring to come because we have piles
of work. This year the winter came very early, yet in November,
and it was very severe, the coldest one in the last decade. The
early and strong colds didn't allow us to finish the preparatory
works to lay the water piping. Now the snow melted and the soil
began to unfreeze and we became glad we can continue the job, but
it grew cold again and again the frost bound the earth. But this
time it won't last long.
We have one more dream. We would like to install our own central
heating system. Such system does exist at the orphanage but the
boiler-house is not ours, but that of the vocational school which
is situated on the other side of the vale. It's very expensive for
us because apart from the gas bills we pay the maintenance. But
the main problem is gas or electricity are often cut out at the
vocational school because they don't have money either. That way
we have to suffer as well. So we have to store up a lot of firewood,
but we don't have stove heating in every room so sometimes we have
to freeze. That's why we haven't spent some of your money yet, because
we started saving money for the construction of our own boiler-house
and the purchase of the boilers.
True that we live much better now than it was when we first met.
We eat much better, are better dressed and have good shoes. You've
helped us to make the life of our children much easier, better and
With my best regards and gratitude,
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