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Day 8

Today was our last day in the orphanage, a happy occasion since we, the orphans and the orphanage staff all enjoyed our time together, but also sad since we had to say goodbye.

Day 8The day started as usual with our team devotional focused on being grateful for the blessings we received from coming on the trip.  All of us felt that we have been blessed by being able to be an agent of God's presence in the orphanage, and by the friendships we have developed with many of the orphans and staff.

After a breakfast omelette, we went to the craft room to pick up the gift bags for the pre-schoolers and took them to the pre-school family units to deliver.  It was fun to see the excitement on the face of all of the kids as they found their hats, gloves, beanie babies, stickers and other gifts.

Following that we met with Valerie, the orphanage director, in his office where he thanked us all for coming and gave us some chocolates and other small gifts as thank you presents.

By this time it was about 9:40am, so we had to hurry to stage the 100+ gift bags for the orphans and staff to the cafeteria where they would be presented at 10am.  Debbie had supervised both getting donations and purchasing the gifts for the bags both in the US and during our Moscow shopping trip upon arrival in Russia.  Putting together the bags was a big job the team that took place behind the scenes over the past few days.

Day 8At a little after 10am the closing ceremony for the camp began and we thanked the staff and kids for hosting us and handed out the gift bags, which included puppets, flashlights, watches, and other gifts based on whether they were for a student or a staff member, boy or girl, and the persons age.  The students were called by name and would come up to accept their bags and give hugs or hand shakes to each team member.  After the students received their bags, the staff members who were present went through a similar process.  It was fun to see the kids enjoying their gifts, especially the puppets during the few hours after the ceremony until we left.

With the closing ceremony over, we rushed to pack up the craft room, organizing and packing the supplies and sports gear into bags which we left at the orphanage awaiting future teams.  We then did our own packing up and had lunch before our 1pm departure.

Day 8All too soon, 1pm came and it was time to give good bye hugs to the kids who flooded the family unit where we were staying.  They helped us carry our bags outside and stood in the snow with us by our van, gathering around us to take some last pictures before we left.  Some of the orphans even came outside in short sleeve shirts and sandals despite the 15 degree Fahrenheit weather!

Sadly, we had to get on the road and we rolled out of Rybnoe and onto Moscow.  Unlike the drive down, the roads were clear and it was sunny so we made it to Moscow in less than 3 hours.  We were met at the Ismailova Hotel by Katya and Masha, two Fund Nadezhda (Childen's Hope Chest's Russia branch) employees.

After we settled in we took the Metro into Moscow with Katya and had dinner on Arbat street at a restaurant serving traditional Russian food called "Yolki Palki."  The food was good, but the weather was cold and with ice and snow on the streets we had to watch our footing!  After the meal it was back to the hotel for a good night of rest before our Moscow tour day.