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Day 5

Today is Russian Day!  We started off our morning with another great team meeting complete with Peets coffee, tea, and Russian cookies.  Dima, one of the kids, came running in during our prayer, flinging open the door, and rung the breakfast bell loud and clear to tell us we needed to come outside.  In order to get into breakfast we had to play a game.  The game was to run into a designated circle then gallop back across the finish line acting like a goat.  We had to point our fingers and hold them by our ears and some people even made goat sounds.  It was pretty funny and all the children giggled at us.  Breakfast consisted of cornflakes with warm milk and pancakes that had cottage cheese inside as well as tea.

After breakfast we were thrown into the world of Russian culture. We did everything from solving riddles, singing songs, dancing, and even acting out a Russian fairytale. The music teacher also sang a song that made a joke about each one of our teammates.  It was pretty amusing to see how they have already picked up on our personalities and quirks.  When we had to act out the Russian fairytale they gave us masks or hats made out of construction paper that represented the animal, everything from a wolf with razor sharp teeth, to a hedgehog, owl eyes, and a furry squirrel mask. They were really cool!  Next we did Russian crafting.  There were four different crafts; clay, painting a Matrushka doll, decorating the top of a black box, and a collage. 

We played outside for a little while and took a trip across the street to the store.  We had to buy some snacks for the Women’s Sauna which is later tonight.  We bought 5 bags of chips, 4 bottles of wine, juice, cookies, candies, apples pears and oranges, and nuts for 10 people and it only cost about $40! One of the big differences is how inexpensive the food is in Russia compared to the US.  After our trip to the store it was time for lunch.  It was simple but with many traditional dishes.  We had fish soup, rice with meat, cabbage, and bread.  Elena explained the value of each of these dishes to us before we entered.  She said cabbage is very important and useful because they can bake it, sauté it, fry it, boil it…then she giggled which made us all smile.

Later our plans are to learn about the traditions of the Russian warriors with some visitors from the community.  Then we will have a Russian dinner followed by Russian sports.  The women are going to the Sauna in the town of Rybnoe after dinner where we will snack and apparently get honey facials!

Today has been really fun and it is great to see how proud all the people are of their Russian culture.  I really enjoy getting to learn new things about Russia as well as trying new dishes and participating in their games and activities.  The weather has been absolutely fabulous, it almost feels like California.  Its strange to think that its already Friday and that a week ago we were at home anticipating this incredible trip.  Our team is really growing and getting to know each other better and also deepening our connections with the children.  My favorite parts of the day are either craft time or playing American games like Uno or Kickball because the kids really enjoy it.  Whenever we play Uno we try to learn Russian words like the numbers and colors while the kids say them in English.  There have been a few of these cool cultural exchange moments that are really special to experience.  I think it’s fair to say we are all having an incredible time here in Russia loving the children and fulfilling God’s plan for these two weeks and we can wait to see what else is in store for us!