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Day 2

Day 2Today was the first full day in the orphanage for us, and it was a busy one.  Most of the activities were organized by the orphanage staff, while we ran a sports and crafts session in the afternoon.

We started out the day by reviewing the schedule for the day, and then headed for breakfast where we enjoyed scrambled eggs and potatoes.

Day 2Following breakfast we all participated in a winter camp kickoff run by Alla, an orphanage staff member who is going to be the leader on the orphanage side.   The theme for the camp this year is "Winter of our Hope", a play off the name of the organization we are here with (Children's Hope Chest on the U.S. side and Fund Nadezhda/"Hope Fund" on the Russian side).  The "mascot" for the camp is the rainbow and all of its colors, so many camp events will be themed by colors, a different one of which has been assigned to each of the seven orphan family groups which are participating (a couple of family groups consisting of kids under age 7 are not participating).  Alla had us all do some ice breakers where a kid from each family group interviewed each of the seven team members, and one kid and one team member would get called up to perform a short skit where the dialog told a joke (example: Teacher Caller: Could you get your mom or dad to come to the phone? Student: They is not here right now.  Teacher Caller: Watch your grammar!  Student:  Gramma?  I think she is upstairs).

After a break during which we unpacked the team bags and organized our craft, sports, and hospitality items, we went to a pageant for the orphans in the orphanage auditorium to celebrate the New Year, which is a bigger holiday here in Russia than Christmas.  The pageant consisted of a play and games, the former of which was put on by orphanage kids and staff and told a story about Father Frost, who is like Santa Claus, and his grandaughter the Snow Maiden, who got tangled up with nefarious people who were trying to compromise the joy of the New Year's celebration.  We didn't have live translation during the event, but it was still fun to watch, and also fun to see how much fun the kids were having as Father Frost gave them toys for participating in the games.

After lunch, the staff held the "Rainbow Games" to start the "Winter of Hope" camp in earnest.  This consisted of each family group competing in seven different tasks, such as writing poems or answering trivia questions.  Those of us on the team were the judges who determined which family groups got first, second and third place, but since it was a noisy, fast paced event and the translators couldn't keep up, mostly we just let the translators provide the rankings.  In the end, all family groups were declared to be tied, and friendship the victor of the games.

Day 2After the games, we held a crafts and sports session.  Bob and Brad lead the sports session in the orphanage gym.  It was lightly attended, but some kids came by to kick some balls around, play some basketball and, for some of the teens, hang out to talk about music and cars.  Robin and the rest of the team lead a crafts session for the kids aged 6 and under.  They put together melt-bead ornaments (plastict beads laid out into different shapes on peg boards and then melted together using an iron) and colored gift bags we will be using for the kid's presents on the last day.

After a dinner of chicken and rice, the kids had a dance ("disco") in the cafeteria for a few hours, which we also joined in, before heading up to their family units for bed at 8:30pm or so.

During this period of time, Jeff and Caroline finally found out that their missing baggage was at Domodedovo airport and that, although the airline was unwilling to deliver it, they were welcome to drive up and pick it up.  A "Hope Fund" employee and her husband agreed to drive the two of them up to Moscow, and after a six hour trip, including some wrangling with airport staff, they finally made it back with their bags at around 3am exhausted, but happy to finally have some
clean clothing.

After Jeff and Caroline left, the rest of the team did their nightly visits to the family units to pray for the kids and say good night, and then headed off to bed.