Letter from Maria Honcharenko, Shirokolanovka Orphanage, September, 2001

Dear our American friends!

First of all we want to present you our condolences on the great tragedy which occurred on September 11. When the mass media began to broadcast this alarming and appalling news the orphanage staff and the children started asking whether the tragedy had directly affected our friends.

My son called to Bettsy Williams and she comforted him telling the tragedy had taken place in the distance. The next day in the morning the teachers and the children assembled for a mournful meeting. The orphanage held mourning for three days. We sympathize with your sorrow and share the grief that happened to the American citizens. All that is very terrifying.

We started a new school year. All of us remember every one of you with gratitude and we are thankful to the Lord and you for your generosity and the help to our kids. Thanks to you we could renovate the orphanage. We painted all the buildings in- and outside. WC pans have been installed in the lavatory of the study building.

All orphans had rested in the recreation camps in the summer. They went there in new clothes and shoes that had been bought for your money.

Also we wanted to have things in the orphanage to remind us of you long, because clothes and shoes are things that wear out very quickly. That's why we bought a freezer and a water boiler for the dining-halls for the rest of the money.

The children have now better food than they had before. Now they always have meat, fish and dairy products on the menu. We had problem how to store these foods and we decided we couldn't do without it. .

We started the preparation for the winter. In the morning the children study and after the classes they go to work with farmers. They gather vegetables. This job is paid with vegetables so that we can make our reserves for the winter. We preserve and pickle cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage. We have already stored up potatoes. The weather this year has been very favorable and the fields yielded a good crop so that the farmers are more willing to pay.
The older boys together with the adults repair the orphanage fence, they rebuild the breastwalls, store up the firewood.

We also have unsolved problems. One of them is the water supply piping. It's very old and the pipes became rusty and have constantly leakage. So we have to worry all the time whether we stay with water or not. We could lay new piping ourselves but we need money to buy new pipes.

We try to work to earn some money ourselves although we see we won't manage without the outside assistance.

Our children don't only work. Sunday is their rest day. We try to diversify this day of rest: we organize sport competitions, the children have time to watch TV programs, to listen to music, to play.

All of them remember you with gratitude, they thank you for the photos and give you their greetings and their best wishes.

With best regards,

Maria Honcharenko

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