Russian Flag

New Year’s Eve is the most important holiday of the year in Russia.  Traditionally, families spend all day cooking; creating many different types of Russian salads.  They then celebrate at night, eating their feasts and closely watching the president (on television) as he ushers in the New Year.

The orphanage is no exception to this custom and New Year’s Eve was quite the busy day.  The team began the festivities with concurrent sessions of crafts and games.  The boys absolutely loved creating their own paper airplanes and catapults, while the girls were engrossed in creating beautiful origami flowers.  During craft time, the halls were loaded with kids (big and small) as they played board games with their American friends.

In the gym, both boys and girls had fun as they let loose and played pick-up games of basketball, soccer, and went to battle with their new nerf stomp rockets.

Today was our opening day of the drama program which was a great success as Jeff, Lena, Ben and Norm opened with a skit at the “Rybnoe Furniture Shop.”  The skit was used to teach the students about love, successful conflict resolution, and the fact that it is acceptable, and encouraged to openly express how you feel without the fear of appearing weak.

After the programs, the entire orphanage began to prepare for the ringing in of the New Year.  As a team, we visited each of the family units and were shown some generous Russian hospitality.  After that, the team broke into groups and went “party hopping” to various family units.  This was an exceptional time, as we had the opportunity to spend quality, individual time with the orphans, as well as feast on some of the traditional Russian fare.

After we finished “party hopping,” we gathered in our room and celebrated the New Year by eating, eating, and eating.  In our spare time we got to know each other a bit better and finally watched President Putin bring in 2013 as we toasted, talked some politics and finally called it a night.

We wish you all a happy new year!  May God bless each one of you this year, and may you be open to receiving all the amazing gifts that He has prepared for you!