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Day 6

We had another great day at the Rybnoe Orphanage.  After breakfast, we taught the children to play dodgeball in the gym.  The youngest ones have a pretty good throwing arm!

After sports,  we loaded up into the orphanage bus and van to drive to Konstantinovo, a small village about 20 km from Rybnoe.  This village is the home of Sergey Ecenin, a local celebrity of sorts.  He was a poet in the early 20th century and his poems are said to accurately reflect the Russian soul.  After becoming famous at a young age, he lived a turbulent life with several marriages before he died at age 30.  Children can recite his poems upon request and the walls of the orphanage bear drawings of his visage.

People came from as far as Moscow for this event at his childhood home (which is now a museum).  An actor pretended to be Ecenin while walking around the garden reciting poetry.  It also started to rain hard during the event, so both the kids at the Americans were getting soaked.  We eventually made our way back to the bus and headed to the orphanage for lunch. 

After lunch, the Americans went to Ryazan (next biggest city) to shop for groceries for several events, our American Day, the men’s sauna and the staff appreciation dinner.  We had to make the trek to Ryazan because that is the closest large western-style supermarket. 

We went to shop, and shop we did. 

We had 12 shopping carts filled to the brim with food for the orphanage staff and the children.  When, we headed for the checkout line, there were several Russian teenagers that were bagging the groceries, they started laughing as soon as they saw us.  They bagged the groceries for quite some time.  Then we filled up our van and drove back.

The men immediately headed off to the same sauna (called banya here) that the women visited the night before (the women stayed behind and said evening prayers with the children).  This was the men’s opportunity to build friendships with the male staff at the orphanage, this event is a tradition that we have done on all past camps.  After baking in the sauna (approximately 230 degrees), we played a game of impromptu water polo before heading back to the orphanage to enjoy a nice dinner of chicken and potatoes before resting up for American Day the next day….