The driver arrived early, like always. He showed me the shortcut to the orphanage that I had been wondering about. He answered some more of my questions about life in Ukraine. Since it was still early for my visit he asked me if I would like to see where he lives. Of course!
I got to meet his 20 year old sister, who has been married for four years and has a two year old son. It is so hot here the kids often go around the house naked, and this little chubby love was naked as a jaybird! I got to meet his mom, too and show her the photos of our family.
They have two freestanding homes right next to each other very close to the orphanage. One of them is being renovated right now. They would like to rent some rooms out to adopting families when it is done. Cheap. Let me repeat that, cheap! The yard is one big garden of things you can eat. I've never seen such a pretty vegetable/fruit garden. Raspberries, beans, carrots, tomatoes, cherries and more. Just beautiful. He said it is his grandma's garden, so she must live here too.
When I got to the orphanage and stepped in to get Zhenya, he was sitting in the playpen in a diaper. Did I mention that it is HOT here? One lady went to get him dressed and the other three ladies were sitting down eating a snack or their dinner, not sure which. They motioned me to come over and they dished out a big plate of tomatoes and cucumbers for me! Wow! They passed the mayo, of course, some salt and some bread and we sat and ate together. There was another plate of something...guess.
It looked like thinly sliced, creamy, white cheese. But no. Some of you know, don't you? Salo!! The ladies tried to tell me how delicious it was and almost begged me to try it. I'm so disappointed in myself that I didn't at least try a little bit. I told them "Americans Nyet Salo." After walking through the meat markets, I just couldn't do it. hahaha!! I really thought I would finish this adoption and go home without being offered some salo. Then she served me a cup of hot chai, which I guess is their word for tea. It was HOT. I drank it. It was good. I started sweating (more) profusely!
Zhen was dressed and stood in the playpen while I ate with the ladies. He didn't seem to mind. When I was done we sat and played in the same room for a while until it was time to go get Theo. Masha was in an untethered walker and she followed me everywhere I went! Anna was in a tethered walker. Do you the the stretched out pair of tights in the photo? Behind the date stamp? That is what they use to tether the walker so the kids to go too far, I guess.
Today I decided that I would visit with Theo and Zhen at the same time. We would just sit on the couch if that was all I could handle. The woman that got Theo dressed for me started to walk out with me. I got the impression that she was going to help me with the boys. Well, OK. When we got to the bottom of the stairs I saw the big strollers the nannies use to cart the children around. Everyone was inside today so I asked her if we could use it and she shrugged. I think that was a yes! She put Theo in and I put Zhen in and we headed for the door. Going down the crappy stairs was fun.
We walked around the back of the building today because it was shady there. We walked and talked and had a pretty good time. He ignored Theo, thank goodness. Then we sat down so that I could give Theo his chai. Zhen sat in the stroller like a good boy while I gave his brother a drink. He kicked off a shoe. We laughed about it. He is really much more comfortable with some space in between us. I'm going to have to steal the stroller again soon.
After I handed the boys over at dinner time I headed for the bus stop. I have found a shortcut to the bus stop. When I leave the grounds I head straight across the street and cut through the buildings there. What an eye opener! There is a HUGE school there (must be a high school) with a dilapadated concrete track and a field in back. These people really LOVE concrete it seems. There is a walled off place that is either a preschool or elementary school. Nine and ten story apartment building surround the schools. Graffiti everywhere. Broken glass. Overgrown grass and weeds.
All I can think of when I'm walking through this place is that it was once someone's proud accomplishment. A model neighborhood. Now it just seems sad to me. Good intentions gone terribly wrong have a particularl ugliness.
Zhen watching us eat! Notice the stretched out tights? That's Anna in the walker.
The nannies regularly pack four children in these and they have the children who can walk trained to help push it! How about the difference in their size? Isn't that something?
This empty building is out in back of the orphanage. I wonder what they have planned. It looks pretty new. This is how all the buildings are constucted here. Concrete blocks and a type of quarried stone that is found around here.
Look at this pretty and unusual flower I found!