Zdvizhivka Camp — Tuesday

Day two and all is well. A few changes for the better:

The group of 4-7-year-olds was split into two groups: 4s/5s and 6s/7s. It was so difficult trying to move 20 children around with some of them being so young! That was the good news. I had the youngest crew — oh my goodness, they are beyond cute!

Upon arrival I had my little charge who had brought her breakfast with her. She hadn’t had time to eat AND get to the bus on time. Time crunches are universal! It turns out that another little girl had not had any breakfast either, so Allyson prepared her some cheese and tomatoes along with juice and fruit.

Breakfast of champions

Breakfast of champions



We again started our day in the big group with music and a skit. Paul and Marianna (great name, eh?!) are doing a wonderful job…Tolly and Vera were happy to be inside and using microphones so that they could be heard by all the children.
Protecting the royal crown

Protecting the royal crown

My group had games after the big group. Challenging to get 10 little miniatures to listen to instructions first in English and then in Russian, but Glenn got the job done. She prepared several tag variants for these children, and it was hysterical watching the little teenies trying to play. The first tag game was called snake tag. A cloth was tucked into the back of the pants of the last person in line…the tail. The first person in line was the head. Everyone stood in a line holding the shoulders of the person in front of them. At the signal, the head tried to run back and grab the tail. We had as much fun watching as they had playing. We also played tunnel freeze tag (ask me about the rules later, if you’re interested) and then we returned to out favorite: Duck, duck, goose. I am getting worn out!
Snake tag

Snake tag

From games we moved to music. Our group is concentrating on Allelu, allelu, allelu, alleluia, praise ye the Lord. They enjoy the crouching down and the stretching up, but I’m not hearing too much singing! Put a hand motion with a song, and these kiddos love it!
Working on hand motions

Working on hand motions

Next we had “open.” Bad news. Nothing planned. Became part of the schedule when we split one group into two and shortened the times in each event. Why bad news? Well, translators didn’t travel with the groups — they were assigned to specific teachers. Group leaders were on their own to entertain, teach, challenge, or whatever. The leaders with absolutely no Russian language were at a complete loss for their 30-minute segments. I could speak and understand somewhat — but keeping an eye on 10 children, many of whom had older siblings somewhere on site and wanted to see them, made for an interesting time. I am soooo thankful for a mother of one of my group who just pitched in and began helping me corral them. She found sidewalk chalk and our life as we knew it was changed from chaotic to sooo relaxed.

Lunch. Sandwich, juice, fruit. And my crew then had Bible time. Amanda and Vera once again did a great job engaging the little ones.

Amazed at what God created!

Amazed at what God created!

Our final stop before the closing big group session was in the art room. Today we painted T-shirts. Unfortunately the camera battery died before I could get some of my guys painting, but Jim had taken pictures of the older kids working on their shirts. Everyone seemed to like this particular project, and tomorrow they will be able to take the shirts home. I think.
T-shirt painting

T-shirt painting

We sang, heard a summary of the lessons learned, and then we were excused to either go home or to the bus.

So glad that Tolly asked me to bring a DVD…Ratatouille in Russian. Gotta love it.



  1. Good work you’re doing… except for carrying on (albeit unwittingly) the russification policies of the soviet and tsarist empires.

  2. Like the old saying goes, when in Rome do like the Romans do. I would think that being situated in Ukraine you would do likewise. It is very sad that you have to revert to total ignorance and disregard for, Ukrainian language, history, culture. I do commend you for your work you are doing with the children, but maybe a little more though should be put into building Ukrainian children to respect their own self identity, not turn them to second class russians.

  3. How in the world can you go into a country and teach children there in a language foreign to them? Russian had been pushed down Ukrainians’ throats over the centuries (they were even told that it’s not a language and should not exist), finally now the country is slowly regaining its pride after so many years of subjugation and decline, and you go in there proseylizing — in the language of the subjugater. Shame on you.

  4. Apparently the use of the russian language is a hot topic for some readers. I personally am studying Ukrainian and speak to the children as best I can in Ukrainian. BUT, when we asked the children on the bus which language they spoke…Russian was the answer from the majority — in fact, only 2 wanted to use Ukrainian. Certainly not a result of this camp.

    Not quite sure how I am showing a total ignorance and disregard for Ukrainian language, history, culture…any suggestions for future camps? Or are “camps” part of the problem as you see it? Please advise on how to do a better job…we’re always open to ideas for improvement!

  5. Pawlina says:

    It’s hardly surprising that Russian would have been their preferred language. That is the exact desired outcome of the policy of russification. (I gather you have no idea what the Ems Ukaz was?)

    If you really want to do a better job, then continue studying Ukrainian until you excel at it. Use it as often as possible. Study the history and culture just as diligently. Take it seriously. And don’t keep it a secret!

    By example you can teach Ukrainian kids who are ashamed of their cultural heritage to appreciate and respect it. In the process, you will help strengthen their sense of dignity and self-identity … which foreign invaders have repeatedly attempted to strip them of.

    Doing that should, I would think, make it easier to deliver your message of peace and love. 🙂

  6. hibethany says:

    They are impossibly adorable!!!

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