Music on a Mission! (6) Osi-po-vichi! Just Like It Sounds... say it FAST!
On Monday we drove two hours south-east of Minsk to a small town called Osipovichi, where The Osipovichi Boarding School for Children with Musculoskeletal Disorders is located.
School director, Larisa, gave us a tour of this facility where kids with severe physical disabilities are treated. Many of the kids are orphaned, but some are brought here because their parents are unable to provide the intense care they must have.
After the tour, we were invited into the auditorium where the kids were gathered. I sang a song for them and asked if they would sing for me. I didn't know it, but they had prepared a show for us. They knew every word of every song they sang and performed flawlessly, an indicator of the dedication and patience of their teachers. They were terrific, and need I say they touched my heart. We passed out "Operation Christmas Child" boxes, toys, big red noses and of course, mustaches. I also brought the magic coloring book which is always a hit.
Larisa is high-energy and committed to providing the best possible care for these kids. She says " I love these children, and I'm asking you for help. I'm not afraid to ask anyone to help, I ask everyone." Her intense dedication struck me again when she said, "We love children here, those who want to work here must love children."
The school is large and old like all the state buildings, but like most of the facilities we serve in Belarus, we were continually impressed with the dedication of the staff to do repairs and painting themselves in an attempt to make the facility comfortable and warm. A garden provides as much food as possible, and teachers work together to meet needs that should fall outside their responsibility.
As you might imagine, a lot of equipment is involved in treating these kids. Braces and supports, wheelchairs and lifts are all over the place. On this visit, there was no time to decide what we should do to help Larisa as she fights for her kids, but you will be hearing from me soon when we learn what her most pressing needs are. I am so humbled to meet yet another amazing person working with very little to create a better future for Belarus's children.
Thanks for traveling with me