I have terrible memories from that place, which I block out of my mind. What little I saw of the bedridden rooms was horrible, and I wasn't feeling well enough to go on the day the team spent all day in those rooms and rooms I never saw. The floors soaked with urine, the bed pans (that did not seem like they were used), the soiled bedding. And the precious people laying barely conscious, and either too weak or too crippled to move, lying in their own feces.
But I have MANY, MANY more joyful memories from that place than I do terrible ones. The joy those precious people had was unbelievable. They were so happy we were there; they followed us everywhere, participating in the same activities over and over and over again. They also LOVED seeing their picture in the digital camera, and I have many, many pictures of just one person smiling, or showing off their muscles, that I haven’t deleted two years later.
Two years ago today was a Monday, and my first day meeting and spending time with the people who will be a part of my heart forever. We got off the bus and before we started to unload, we were surrounded by people who were curious. After all, no one besides Max ever come to visit them, and he doesn't come in a huge bus.
They were all soo happy we were there to spend time with them, we didn't need a translator to tell us that. Nor did we need a translator to tell them we were so happy to be there to love on them! Love is a universal language. That first day was very memorable for me, not only to have my first taste of what the next 2 weeks would be like, but there was just so much excitement in the air, and everyone knew something special was going on.
Many of these pictures from the first day have made my favorite list.
|That is my dad in the red. This picture is easily in the top 5 from the institution, maybe even from the whole trip. I just love it!|
|Natasha and Sandi :) We all loved Natasha! She was one of the 8 women there of the over 300 people.|
|This guy was deaf, he was telling Sandi about the cut on his arm (with the infamous Ukrainian blue antibacterial stuff)|
|This is also a favorite of mine. I think because it's not obvious that it was on our mission trip, it's a picture of what you would see in an institution.|
And note those awesome wheelchairs - Free Wheel Chair Mission What they do is seriously amazing. For those of you wondering, I have already sent pictures to them that I took of their chairs in use.
And thus concludes my first day at the institution. It was a day I will not forget the feeling of for a long time.
Stay tuned for Part 4, I really want you to read this next one!