Les Amis de Svieta

Trip report fall 2008

Friday December 5th
Mission completed 🙂
Pascal has been driving from Nikolaiev to Odessa airport from where he is now flying via Prag to Zurich.
Thursday December 4th
Weather today is better, no rain and no fog.
After visiting the Baby House of Kremenchuk, Pascal and Vika are heading back to Nikolaiev, from where Pascal will be flying home to Switzerland tomorrow afternoon.
Wednesday December 3rd
Today it was still overcast, but less fog.
First, Pascal and Vika visited potential suppliers for Vika’s shop in Nikolaiev. Then they were heading for Kremenchuk. Today, as a bonus, it was also raining 🙁

Tuesday December 2nd
Galina has updated us on progress of all current projects at Zeleniy Gay (orphenage and school internat (boarding school)). Unfortunately both directors were not available today. And so we didn’t even bother driving there. For once we spent a quiet day. It was a gray day, autumn weather.
Monday December 1st
Today it is still overcast and foggy.
Today is World AIDS Day 2008. Pascal and Vika have visited AIDS/HIV orphanage in Makiivka and they have clarified all open issues for OBS and LAdS France. Afterwards they drove to Kharkov, where they arrived late because of dreadful weather conditions.
Sunday November 30th
Today Pascal and Vika have driven the Mazda to Donetsk without problems, but in nasty conditons (8 hours drive in rain and heavy fog).
Saturday November 29th
As scheduled, Pascal and Vika have spent most of the day together with Igor and his brother Sergeï at the largest market in Nikolaiev.

The two boys could choose clothes and shoes without thinking about the price. And even though their choice didn’t always match our taste ;-), it was a lot of fun. After we had finished lunch and shopping with the boys it was book keeping time and we had to check receipts and invoices. That isn’t the most interesting job, but considering we had fog all day and temperatures were quite low too, it wasn’t a bad idea either. Starting tomorrow we will be on the road, going to Donetsk, Kharkov and Kremenchuk (possibly even to Kiev, time permits).
Friday November 28th
Still overcast and cold but no snow in sight.
Vika and Pascal have visited ‘school internat’ (boarding school) N°3 in Nikolaiev (NI#3), a place they did not know. Vika has learned from NI#3 thru an American family, for whom she worked as a translater. Their adopted child has two older brothers that live in NI#3. The family has asked LAdS to organize (at their expense) a day out for the 2 brothers and to ensure they got everything they need. As it is Friday today, it was agreed to spend Saturday together.
Contract negotiations with the supplier of the equipment for outdoor playground filled the remaining part of the day (project sponsored by our friends from OBS). The Ukrainian central bank has decided to change the way the exchange rate is calculated and thus has devalued the national currency (from 6.2 to 6.8 in 3 days)! That explains why contract negotiation with the supplier was so difficult.
Thursday November 27th
An other quite sunny, but chilly day. Pascal and Vika went to the Ministry of Education in order to trace two brothers of boy, that was adopted earlier this year by an American family. The family wishing to maintain contact and provide these two young people clothes for the winter.
Pascal and Vika then returned to the bank hoping to collect the balance of the money received from OBS for the proposed outdoor playground at Baby House in Kremenchuk. Unfortunately, the central bank’s announcement to devaluate their currency (Hrv or hryvnia) had the effect that banks immediately introduced new and limiting withdrawals rules for foreign currency. They will therefore have to go back to the bank in 3 days (!!!) to withdraw the balance.
Good news anyway, the car is repaired and the rest of the trip was re-scheduled for Sunday. Finally a quiet evening and without emotions, allowing everyone to go to bed early.
Wednesday November 26th
Weather was overcast and windy.
Vika and Pascal took the Mazda to the garage to get the exhaust fixed. Unfortunately required parts were not available at the garage – Ukrainian life at its best. This delays departure by an other day, as repair could only be scheduled for Thursday. :sick:
They also have met with local partners willing to participate in some projects at NBH. Without car, they were forced to reduce their activities and ended the day with a meal together with powerful representatives of the local police, who have helped Pascal to find his wallet again.
Tuesday November 25th
…it is still dark and wet :grrr:
Today we had an early start, departure at 05:00, to drive Jim to the airport in Odessa in time for his flight to Kiev, from where Jim was flying back to the States.
Subsequently we paid McDonald a visit, as this is the first restaurant open early in the morning in Ukraine. Two coffees later we started our search of Odessa Baby House in the suburbs of Odessa, which we found thanks to the help of a taxi driver that showed us the way. We delivered news from Spain and checked their needs. Afterwards it was time to drive the second time to Odessa airport, this time to Tom’s flight was scheduled back to Switzerland.
Back in Nikolaiev, Pascal went to the usual restaurant to publish this text, where his purse was stolen in a clasic way. He was shocked and agitated when he noticed the theft. Thanks to the combined efforts of Vika and her many contacts (and thanks to mobile phones…), the purse suddenly reappeared without any part of its contents missing.
Monday November 24th
…an other sunny morning in Nikolaiev :coolsmile:
As planned we drove to Nikolaiev Baby House today. Unfortunately Director Olga Ivanovna wasn’t there, because she hasn’t returned from Italy, where she took Vitaly to get operated. Her deputy Ludmila Ivanovna received us and showed us the whole Baby House. Jim who hasn’t been here since 4 years was able to appreciate on site, what changes (Kitchen, many Montessori projects, children’s bathrooms etc.) were achieved with the help of LAdS (USA and Switzerland) and he was very impressed.
Afterwards we purchased 4 winter tyres for the Mazda, so that the whole trip can be completed successfully even in bad weather conditions.

Jim is testing the new Montessori toys at NBH!

Sunday November 23rd
After a good night’s sleep for all of us we drove on a cold but sunny day to Kachovka to revisit
Olga Igorivna at her Agricultural Technical School and to see her room at the dormitory. We discussed all open issues and we brought her many presents from Hanni and Kathrin. After the visit we took Olga Igorivna to a Ukrainian restaurant for a nice meal, before driving back to Nikolaiev.

Olga Igorivna, Jim from LAdS USA and Vika

Saturday November 22nd
Pascal, joined by Tom in Bern traveled by train from Fribourg to Zürich, from where they flew via Prague to Odessa.
A couple of hours later, Jim (from LAdS USA) landed safely in Odessa and everybody moved to Nikolaiev driven by Vika in new LAdS car.
Pascal is on a new marathon of approximately 2 weeks (from November 22nd till December 5th) across the whole country. Visited places will include Kakhovka, Nikolaiev Baby House (NBH), Odessa, Makiivka (Donetzk region), Kharkov and Kremenchuk.