Good stories are never enough
We keep sharing amazing stories and memories of our fantastic Irish volunteers. This story comes from one of our most dedicated one – Maria Carr:
“This year marks my 9th year travelling to Belarus with the Burren Chernobyl project. I can honestly say that each year has gotten better, especially in 2010 when I was introduced to Cherven orphanage. My heart was split in two and can never visit one without going to the other.
I spent two weeks herewith a lot of my time in group 3 and 4 and group 2 in the evenings. I felt my connection with the children had solidified, I am a face to them that keeps returning. I was , as always in awe of each and every one of them. The smiles, the laughter and the jokes warmed my heart.
I was treated to concerts and even a salad making competition. It was a joy to spend my time in Goradischie and accompany them on outings away from the orphanage for the day.
Due to the large group in Gorodische for my second week I moved into the independent unit. I was treated like a queen and no need for an alarm clock as a knock to my door at 8 am to say “ privet” would do!!
A lasting memory I have is with Vitalik who lives in the independent unit. He can be seen as a tough man who plays sports and works hard, that is of course true but I was privileged to see his softer side. Every morning I would get a glass of juice to my room and every evening before I went to bed, he would come in and say goodnight to me. On the second last night he sat with me and was quiet. He said that he did not want me to go home, that my home was here now and I needed to stay. I held back the tears and gave him a huge hug, I felt helpless but I knew he understood. I left him with a present and a picture of us together in a frame.
I spent one week in Cherven and managed to visit all the groups with a few ice cream parties along the way in the 34degee heat!
I was also able to get 92 of us to the cinema and disco. It was great to see everyone out having fun and forgetting about the real world for a short time. I got a massive “spaseeba” and many hugs and kisses. A part of my heart remains with Tanya, it hurts more than is imaginable to say goodbye to her but I know we will spend time together again.
I had a great three weeks in Belarus. I don’t know how it happened but some Dublin jerseys appeared to have made their way over and are being worn proudly!!”