Anastasia — “Nastia” (UKRAINE POST # 2)

March 12, 2011

(If you haven’t read “New Friends,” the post from a couple of days ago, read that first, in order to understand the context for this 2nd post about Ukraine.)

To give you a picture of Natasha’s heart, I’ll tell you her answer to a question that we gave her today during our Skype meeting. She was asked at the end of our meeting what the one thing would be — if she could wish for one thing — that she would like to have. Immediately she told us a story…

Part of Natasha’s job in her role as a family preservation social worker is to find “sponsors” for the at-risk families facing emergencies. One of these families has a child named “Nastia” who is 6 years old and who needs an immediate kidney operation. In Ukraine, that would cost $500, but that is a huge sum and there’s no way that the family could raise the money. Typical monthly sponsorships / family total $100, and often this sum is raised using the funds of several sponsors, so a $500 chunk is not easy to come by. Natasha has been working, but this money represents only one need of several families’ needs. But this was the one wish that Natasha had above all others. After our Skype meeting ended, one of the women present said, “Gosh, that’s not that much money. If 20 people each gave $25, we’d have it! There were 11 of us around the table, so we had a good beginning. Natasha doesn’t yet know it, but she’s going to get that wish.

As interpreter for us today, Matt was also a part of our Skype meeting. He’s from VA, but he went to Ukraine as a Peace Corps worker, who then stayed. He is now a regular employee of Bethany Ukraine and a co-worker of Natasha’s. But his grandparents in VA are going to be celebrating their 60th anniversary at the end of this month, so Matt will be returning to this country to join them at their party. While he’s here, he will swing through DE to meet us at the church as a follow-up to today’s Skype meeting. Pretty exciting. Not to mention, good timing. Matt, as our liason extraordinaire, will play a key role in our trip, and it doesn’t look like we could have a better guy on our side. Competent, trusted, and indeed, “one of them” in Ukraine, yet American through and through, he’s a great fit. He had a great sense of humor, was a straight shooter who was not afraid to say what he thought, and he was sensitive to cultural differences. He did make a point to “warn” us that the campsite wouldn’t exactly be a 4 star location. I said, “There will be TREES, right?” That’s really all I cared about,…well, that and the little matter of whether or not we’d be digging our own holes or using an outhouse, and Matt laughed and said that we’d have showers! “Showers?” I thought?? That immediately raised it to a 4 for me. It’s going to be an adventure and it’s going to be fun and there will be about 25 kids, from ages 6 – 14 there. So we learned a few things today. A few really, really good and important things today. I’ll keep you posted.

Our ORPHAN DAYS at Simply Bed & Bread will always be on Tuesdays. On designated Tuesdays, we’ll be sending 50% of the total take to Ukraine. Watch for them! The first one will be THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!

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