Letter from Maria Honcharenko, Shirokolanovka Orphanage

September 12, 2002

Dear Michael and All Our American Friends!

Greetings from Landau! Finally, I'm at home although this is only temporary. I don't feel completely fine yet as the courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are not finished. Michael, thank you for your card. Your kind words of support lessened the unpleasant suffering caused by my poor health. The warmth of your words brought me joy and gave me a powerful drive for life. I could not afford to give up.

What a happiness to be at home! I returned home August 30, so that I had the luck to start the new school year together with all the others. We always have a hectic beginning of the school year. We have new children, and new children means new concerns. Especially hard is August 31. On this day we see our older children off to the adult life. How will they be able to get adjusted to it? How will it meet them? The orphans who graduated this year were very good children. We were so sorry to part from them. During the parting they cried, so did we. We put them all into the vocational school in Mykolayiv, and they will study there for two years. We've already visited them at their new place, and the vocational school teachers thought well of them. It was so pleasant for us.

We saw Rosa Reimer on September 1 during the new school year celebration. She keeps herself looking good, but she cannot come to the orphanage by herself, she simply lacks the physical strength. That's why sometimes we bring her to us for a talk. This is always joy both for her and us.

At the orphanage the working days go on. Before noon we have classes, in the afternoon the younger children work on the school grounds and have rest. We work with our older children in the fields. We need to store vegetables for the winter. And while it's warm and dry, we store firewood.

We have done the project documentation for our own gas heating, but financially we will not manage it this year. It will cost a lot of money, and we can't afford it now.

We have much paper work now. Our orphanage is being transferred from the district public property to the regional public property. We hope that with this transfer our children will receive more monetary aid from the state.

I must say that now due to your welfare life at the orphanage improved greatly, and we could solve many problems. The thought that we started the new school year in the repaired buildings gladdens our hearts. We could renew the interior of the dormitories, we have no problems with water now, and we have detergents and means of personal hygiene. Thank you very much indeed.

Problems seem to never cease. We would like to repair the equipment in our workshops. It is so worn out that we only wonder how it still manages to keep alive. We use this equipment to make repairs to our buildings and grounds. There's need for new laundry equipment as we often are forced to do the laundry by hand. These are our current needs. Your continued support helps us to live.

Well, I'm finishing my short letter.

I send you my endless gratitude and my best wishes to you and all our dear American friends.


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