The kids school caught on fire today, destroying the first level where the foster/orphaned kids live. Thankfully, this happened during the school day and both the regular school kids on the second floor, as well as the workers on the first were able to quickly get out in time.
It was believed to be an electrical fire, set ablaze their old couch and quickly spread to the bedrooms and another classroom. This is where we visit, the very room I like to lay on the floor and let the kids pile around, play legos and wrestle. If this had happened in the night, there would have most definitely been casualties. Our boys escaped with all their classmates on the second floor – the teachers were all visibly shaken, yet the kids, as only kids can think – were delighted to have the rest of the week off. Thank you God for this mercy, and protection of these precious lives.
I talked tonight with one of the teachers, who was the makeshift guard on duty tonight to prevent theft – they are meeting in the morning to determine the next steps. I think it will be a real community effort to get the downstairs cleaned up. The smell of smoke is deadly at the moment, he took me inside for 10 seconds and it was enough!
Praying for a possible avenue to help, whether raising some funds from our facebook friends and family, and/or gathering some men and serving out there. We have relationships already built and a good time to support – salt and light. I will find out tomorrow whether the best avenue would be clothing/materials for the kids for the next few months, or help towards the restoration of the living space.
On a different yet similar note, we also met with the Fire Alarm System (government run ‘business’) to pay and begin installing the detectors/computerized system. If there’s a fire, it will text our cell phones (if we’re not there), and set off a number of bells on the first and second floor, as well as the garage. They told us not to bother connecting the system to the actual fire department, as it wouldn’t help – they said the signal would first go to Kiev, then maybe make it to our regional department 20 minutes down the road, and then maybe to our town – then maybe they would come – so better to just have it text the owners.
After seeing, and smelling the Kuzmenci school fire damage, and realization of how fast the powerful flames do spread, I’m glad we haven’t cut corners or did a shady deal to just get a stamp and paper. By Friday the Cafe should be fire legal – and only gas and health inspection remains.
Speaking of Gas, yesterday Dema and I ventured to visit the regional chief again to complain on the delays. He sees us coming and looks like a cat escaping a toddler.. where do I go, how can I get out of this! The tables have turned, at least emotionally for me. I am now pressing him, and find no pleasure in any of their excuses. While being as respectful as possible, the political environment is so shaky right now, everyone (especially crooks) are concerned for their jobs. I am getting more bold to stand up, and pressure these guys to do their jobs. We’re not asking for anything but this basic thing. 8 months, no gas, unbelievable but true.
Today, I was in Kiev with Deb’s continued tests for baby #8. We found out it’s a girl! As many of you know we were given some scary news that the baby signs early on were leaning towards down’s syndrome. We are still cautious, but thankful that today’s ultra sound was more comforting and the baby looks to be in good health. We do however still have more blood tests to return in the coming days which will tell us more.
While in Kiev, I hopped off the subway (called metro here) to Maidan, the central square where all the protests and battles have taken place. It was such a gorgeous day out, fresh clear sky. I took this panoramic of the square, still assembled are 30 or so tents, and remnants of the peoples malitia. With all that is going on in Odessa, and the Eastern parts of Ukraine, I wonder if this area will once again heat up, and flood with the nationalists. With elections looming, their currency losing value (40% in past 6 months), and civil unrest, things are bound to get worse before they get better.
You can find very current, albeit very western leaning news on the situation in Ukraine at kyivpost.com.
Thanks for checking in, and please consider donating soon towards helping the kids school and orphanage get cleaned up and back in operation. Currently the kids are sleeping at the local kindergarten – and the 15 of them will be shipped to another town temporarily (15 minutes away) for boarding at another orphanage (for teens). Pray for these little ones, they are some precious kids.
Bruce & Deb