Belarus Blog. The most wonderful afternoon

What a great afternoon was in store for us at the secondary school in Protosevichi with a vibrant concert of traditional dancing and singing. Truly moving. Loved the emotion, pride and passion of the children, as they sang and danced their hearts out. This is a very small school with a strong community based heart. Just a few pics and when we get get stronger wifi we can add some YouTube clips. Many of the older children have been to Bristol for a holiday. The younger ones will be looking forward to their turn.

There is a clip of these children below dancing on our Facebook page. So beautiful.

Now came the challenge. Watch carefully they said. Was like the Generation Game. But Woollies, we like to think we did not let you down 😀

Two dances for us to join in with. One round the sticks, like a polka the other with a partner. SADLY no photos or film of this! We nailed it though. Obvs!!

And our school visit was over. Wonderful to be able to gift the Hearty Hearts, thank you so much everyone again for making them.

The rest of the day was to be taken up visiting the Chernobyl 2018 in their homes. We are with Andy who leads the group, so knows all the children and Terry and Charlie who both hosted last summer and so it was to be marvellous for them to see their children again and meet their parents for the first time. We felt overwhelmed with emotion just seeing this happen. Magic.

All these children had blankets from us last year. We dug out the Bristol collection photo to remind ourselves…

Stunning!

We couldn’t really take this in, still can’t. Seeing these fabulous children again, one year on with their much loved and clearly precious blankets in their own homes. Very very special.

This is Sacha in front of a huge Welcome to Belarus poster her family had made. Her mum says she loves her blanket so much and thank you xx

These two families live out near the school in farm tied accommodation. Our next visit was to see two girls who live in central Osipovichi.

Found it! Eighth floor. Would like to say we ran up. We didn’t. Grateful for the lift!

Both Anastasia…

And a Hearty Heart for the little sister who at nearly 3 was going to have to wait a long time before she has her visit!

And onto our last family. To catch up with a lad called Roma. Had a brief stop off to see the sunset at this beautiful lake which was on the way. Huge thanks to Inessa and Irina for being our guides and taxi service around town!

We love Roma’s front garden! Want flowers like these!

And with his blanket. Again clearly much loved and used. It gets desperately cold here and his mum said how he loves being cosy and wrapped up.

And our day was nearly over. We can’t thank Inessa and Iryna for all their translations and taxiing, always cheerful and endlessly patient! And the families, what welcomes we received. Belarusian hospitality is extraordinary. In every home we were welcomed with an amazing array of traditional Belarusian foods and drinks. Many many toasts in vodka. Wonderful people, fabulous times!

And we were exhausted!

Will be coming back to this with more photos!

Belarus Blog. The Wheels on the Bus. Thursday morning

Collected at 9am, we were off to school in classic Belarusian school bus! Thursday was looking like a very busy day. Our itinerary is below…

It was to be a day filled with school visits, dropping in to the kindergarten (so cute) who performed a show for us which was adorable. These children are aged 4-6 years. One day they’ll visit the UK!

So onto the secondary school, which was utterly wonderful. Until very recently all their water was drawn from the well in their playground. Lots of pics below….

So privileged to meet again the (Chernobs) children who visited Bristol last summer and being in on meetings for families with children coming this summer. Above, last year’s children are doing a presentation for next year’s group. You can see in the slide top right pics of the blanket handover in 2018!

Inessa and Irina were acting as translators. It was just lovely to see the children again. They have really grown! We were to visit several at home later in the afternoon how exciting!

So onto a meeting with the Headteacher in her office, before lunch. Any experience we’d had being sent to the Head back in the day was put into the shade. Because look what we were given <beam>

Cognac. <slurp>

Smashing!

Wednesday afternoon to follow!

Belarus Blog. A warm welcome to Osipovichi.

Had a wonderful evening with the brilliant teachers, Inessa, Iryna and Valentina from Osipovichi and the Bristol link members with us here, Andy, Charlie and Terry hosted by the fabulous Alesya and husband Sasha at their home. Gorgeous Belarusian nosh inc draniki (potato pancakes) a very popular dish found in Belarus cuisine. Draniki’s main ingredients are grated potatoes and onions though some recipes also include meat, bacon, mushrooms and cheese. Served with sour cream. Yum!

Lots of laughing, lots of vodka. Trying to introduce the phrase saywotnow (yay) into Belarus. It’s going well. 🙂

Back to the workers’ hostel in Osipovichi. Our twin room is covered with wool, blankets and hearty hearts. Just like home really!

We are two hours ahead. Must sleep. Night all xxx

Belarus Blog. We are here!

And so are all the Billie’s Blankets and Hearty Hearts. Oh what a PHEW!!

We nearly had to open the vac packed blankets in customs. Which would have been interesting and impossible to repack. Fortunately they changed their minds….

Belarus Blog. In the bar at Gatwick!

Good news. We are in the right place at the right time. They have accepted our luggage even though the Billie’s Blanket bag has had to go as oversized. Rude! It did fortunately scrape in at 22.9kg (out of 23) In for the win! All the hearty hearts are in too.

So we are in the bar. Relieved.

It’s good.