Anyway, when we arrived for the first day (with the chaperone) I told the Director and the Head Social Worker about all the funds donated and they were speechless. I told them what I hoped to do, and the Orphanage Director asked if she could show me something. She took me upstairs into two of the 'groupa' rooms. As you know, the orphanage is divided into 5 sections. Each has a bedroom and common room for about 20 children. She walked into two of the common rooms and pointed at the furniture, if you could call it that.
In one room, the two chairs were being held together by pieces of cardboard, and one was propped against the wall to keep the back from falling off. The couch was so beyond repair that the seats sunk down towards the floor and a large opening appeared where the back should meet the seat. It had bricks in the back to hold it steady. This was all the seating for one of the girls' groups.
She then took me into one of the boys' groups and it was the same story...only their chairs were completely gone because, as she said, they had fallen apart beyond repair. All 20 boys were using half a couch they had salvaged and the upholstery was ripped off. They were sitting on foam, and filthy foam at that. Then she asked me, 'Keri, I hate to ask, but if you could use that money to purchase new furniture for these two groups, I think the need is much greater, but I leave it up to you.'
Now I knew this was not my money and I did have a moment of anxiety. After all, I had said the money would go towards the art room I envisioned. But I realized quickly that the children preferred to wait for the art room and actually have places to sit to do work, watch tv, etc. They themselves said they'd rather have new furniture. And so I said yes. The responding 'HOOORAH!' was a riot. I guess it's the Russian equivalent of 'Yay!!!' or 'Yippee!'
If there is anyone of you who donated who is even remotely upset I chose to use the money for furniture without consulting you, I will not be offended in the LEAST if you ask for a refund. I did what I thought was best and had no way to consult any of you at the time! I have promised myself to take on an extra school job this winter and pay for the 'Art Room' project myself. I give you my word.
|News spreads quickly that the furntiure truck has arrived.|
|First glimpse of the couches. Ghastly by our style standards, but VERY cool by Russian standards!|
|The teen boys helped move it all in by sections.|
|Here is the boys' couch. It also has a pullout bed !|
|Another shot of the boys' couch. They got matching chairs, too.|
|And an orange 'delight' for the girls' room! They LOVED it!|
It is far bigger than this photo shows. Can easily seat a dozen people!