Sometimes, while working with people, you come across a family who really touches you. When I first met the older two children, I didn’t know there were 4 more at home. I didn’t know their story and I hadn’t met their mom yet. The oldest son stood out to me, though, because he was very creative and artistic.
Some back story; While in Belarus, my two young children and I joined a team heading into the Chernobyl zone. We were on our way to a school in a “forgotten village”. This was our first experience outside of Minsk, my husband was not with us because he was in Ukraine and it was a 4.5 hour drive, each way, on icy roads to get there. Putting our faith in God and the team leaders and interpreters. We had no idea what to expect, but we were excited about the opportunity to help those we’d meet.
We arrived at an old school building, full of excited, rambunctious kids, committed teachers and whichever parents were able to come meet us. After a tour we all separated to lead our various classes. My class was called ‘food art’ and we made pictures using fruits and vegetables.
It was during this class that I first met two of the Naidin children. I was struck by their creativity and good manners. I didn’t realize then that I’d meet them again later.
After our classes were over, we went to a few of the houses around the school in order to deliver food baskets. I was planning on staying in the car during these stops, but I had to run a bag into one of the houses at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. That’s when I met Galya. She is a 30-year-old mother of 6 children. Her kids were well behaved and well taken care of. It was obvious that Galya and her husband worked very hard for their family.
She showed us around her small home and we met her other very young children.
Their house was tidy and she proudly showed us that they were recently able to install a bathtub inside. They didn’t have an indoor toilet, but the addition of the bathtub was very helpful to her family. As we were leaving we asked if she needed anything and she said maybe a piglet eventually. She couldn’t have one right then because their barn had caught on fire and the inside and roof had been completely destroyed. She said they were in the process of rebuilding, and when that was done, then they could keep a piglet alive through the harsh winter (The barn fire killed their livestock, including a milk cow).
This woman, as strong as she was, looked tired and worn. My heart went out to her. I asked what it would take to rebuild her barn and to install a toilet into their little house. It was determined that $350 would cover the entire cost.
Now their barn is rebuilt and they can have a cow and calf and some piglets.
This family really showed me the resilience of the Belarusian people. They work hard, they take care of their children and they are tough. I was glad I got to meet them and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again.
It’s encouraging to see families trying to make it on their own, raising their kids to be hard workers and to keep an unwavering hope for a better future.