I have been given the opportunity to volunteer in Ukraine this summer to help put on a one week summer camp for children in a refugee center. Their families were forced out of their homes during the last two years due to war. Their families ended up in Kiev, Ukraine where they are trying to find jobs and permanent housing. There are approximately 80 children under the age of twelve. The team I am traveling with will be targeting this age group of children but plan to have games and activities for the older teenagers in the afternoon, mostly in the form of games.
During the last three years, most of the information American's have heard about Ukraine is the war with Russian separatists and annexation of the Crimea. This turmoil has created a great need in Ukraine for kindness and compassion and I have accepted the call the serve the Ukrainian people this summer at the end of July. We will be assisting a refugee center being run by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and some other western, Non-Government Organizations. Others teams will be traveling to Kiev this year as well, one providing mental health services and training, and a second providing medical and dental assistance.
The non-profit organization I am volunteering for does not cover any of my expenses. If you would be interested in assisting me with a donation to the non-profit to help cover the expenses, I would greatly appreciate it. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Trying something new may be exiting, scary, uncertain, or exhilarating. Sometimes we may not know how to feel. Well, I tried something new this summer. I am teaching a marine biology class! It has taken me a great deal of time to decide what to included. The class needed to be interesting to students and valuable to their parents. I am teaching the class during a six week summer academy which parents pay for. I knew I wanted to conduct dissections, take field trips, make observations of marine life, and instill a love for the oceans in the students. I set high standards and so far the class is going well, I am in the second week.
Trying something new can also be a lot of work, and this certainly has been so far. The work is worth it. That is the most important point. President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” I absolutely agree. So, I will choose to do what takes effort, creates pain, and is difficult... because it is worth it!
I am very fortunate to have visited many places. Mostly because my parents were working or traveling there. As my brothers and sister and I grew older we joked about our parents moving a lot, and how we always found them. I hope I don't have to explain that joke.
The most interesting place I visited was Jerusalem. It was some amazing to think that many of the places I walked had been there for 2,500 years. Many of the stones paths we walked on or archeological digs we visited predated the time of Christ. One of the monuments was supposedly the grave of King David. That would be about 3,000 years ago.
The streets in the new city were wide and traveled mostly by cars, buses and motorcycles. They looked like most other city streets in many cities in the middle east, wide, paved, modern, efficient. The narrow walkways of the old city were different.
The streets of the old city were not wide enough to allow a car to travel through them. The buildings on each side rose three of four stories so that you could see very little of the sky. Often the awnings from the shops on the first floor met, or nearly met each other in the center of the street, making a covering for the street. Shops on each side sold nearly everything. One shop in particular I remember was a little restaurant. We had lunch there sometimes. After walking up and down the hills and valleys of the city and the surrounding area we were always hungry. The food was great but the orange juice was amazing!
The oranges sat next to a traditional hand press. The fresh, ripe, bright orange fruit was cut in half and placed the press. A clean glass (at least we hoped it was clean) was placed under the press. As the large handle was lowered the juice flowed down into the glass. That's what was delivered to our table. The juice was cool but not cold, but the unmistakable flavor was what brought us back. I remember many of the places that we visited but the flavor of that orange juice left an impression on me that is remembered