I spent two weeks in July traveling abroad, this was my first time ever being out of the country! I left for Ukraine Sunday July 5th and arrived Monday the 6th. I was extremely exhausted when we got to the Light of Love camp in Vinogradove, Ukraine! There was no time for rest though, as soon as we got there (and ate a quick meal) we were all hauled off to the Tesa River so the kids could go swimming. We were there almost 2 hours before coming back to the camp. I was extremely tired, and very dehydrated. We got back and ate again and the food never stopped coming. As soon as one plate was empty, they brought out another one.
Because I was dehydrated I wasn’t feeling the best, and I was super exhausted from traveling over that day. Where we were, we were 6 hours ahead of my regular time in Cincinnati Ohio. Jet lag is a beast! As soon as we got to the place that would be our home for the next two weeks and got settled in, I crashed! I fell asleep around 5 that first night and didn’t wake up till around 7 the next morning.
After I woke up, around 8 am the Palichko’s had a bible study and prayer. We did this everyday for about half an hour, they were reading through the book of Isaiah, talking about it and then a hymn and then a prayer for the day. After the prayer we got all of our stuff together to go to camp. Most of the kids were already there playing, doing jump rope, on the trampoline, playing volleyball, ping pong, or swinging, or just talking and joking around with friends. Then breakfast was served around 9. The first morning we had buttered bread with cheese, it might sound kind of bland, but I really enjoyed it and so did everybody else. We had this for most breakfasts, it was always between that and french toast. But they didn’t put anything on it. They just deep fried bread in eggs and ate it, I also really enjoyed this. But then again, I just really enjoy food!
After breakfast the kids had free time until about 10 when we had the English lesson. Almost everyday we gave them a list of vocab words with English and Ukrainian, they had to write the words down in a booklet that we gave them, we kept the booklets so that as best we could we wouldn’t lose track of them. We also taught them songs that would praise God, with really catchy tunes that would get stuck in everyone’s head. We also taught them the Lord’s Prayer from Matt 6:9-13. The whole class was about an hour every day or a little longer. This was a typical class, a different day though Mark-Phillip tought them about building their house upon the rock from Matt 7:24-27, the kids really liked this activity because we gave them Popsicle sticks and glue and put them in groups to build houses with good foundations. The kids got glue everywhere, it’s a good thing this was an outside activity.
Then the kids had free time for about an hour or so, around noon Mr. Palichko would give a bible class and teach the kids about Gods way of life. The volunteers and I didn’t need to go to this class, sometimes I did but it was sometimes hard to follow what he was saying even with Artur who could translate because Mr. Palichko would speak really fast. So the volunteers would go and relax and go to the market if need be, we were just always told not to be late for lunch.
Right after the bible class was lunch, almost every day for lunch we would have some different type of vegetable soup, as well as compote, cut up tomatoes and cucumbers, and sometimes fried coliflower or tofu. The palichko’s are vegetarian and only served vegetarian food, but trust me you never go hungry there. They also always served some kind of desert after lunch and dinner. After lunch we had free time with the kids and got out frisbee and bad mitten, the kids all loved it and really enjoyed it when we got involved with playing the games with them. And then between 3 and 3:30 everyday we would go on an excursion, like the first day we went to the river, we did that the first few days because of how hot it was.
We also went on walks, to an old ruin of a castle, to parks, to an old amusement park from 1988, and to visit gypsys on the other excursions. I took so many pictures everyday, that in the two week trip I had to change the batteries in my camera three times.
After we got back from the excursions we would have dinner at the camp, it was always left overs from lunch and a new main course, it varied from a different soup, to pizza, to spaghetti, to a hot pourige that they loved to cover in chocolate powder. It was interesting. Ha.
All of the above was a typical day at the summer camp. I think the biggest thing that stood out to me during the time I was there, was how hospitable everyone was. If you needed anything, the people there would help you get it if not just get it for you. It felt like they had a never ending supply of outgoing concern for everybody in their lives. It seemed like if you needed it, the palichko’s and everyone at the camp would give you the shirt off their back for you.
I want to encourage you to always show out going concern for people. Show it to the stranger on the sidewalk just passing by saying hellow, show it to your friends and family by doing a random act of service and just checking on them to say hi and if they need anything, and show out going concern to the people you might not be particularly fond of. Everyone is going through a battle of something, whether you know it or not. So always be kind, and show love and concern for all.
You are awesome! God knows it and so should you!