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My assistant, Ira, called me to tell me that we were invited to an activity that the City of Illichevsk was putting on for people who helped the children throughout the year. I thought that it would be something similar to the event that they had last year. People from different organizations and businesses who made some type of contribution were recognized and given a very nice commemorative plate.

Ira didn’t have a lot of information, but she said something about a ball. She has learned so much about the English language, but situations that she has not experienced make it difficult to translate. This was one of those times. She knew that it was a formal affair, but the rest was a surprise.

I had to go to the massage clinic to take pictures of a sweet little child, and Ira would meet me there. Our evening adventure was on that side of Illichevsk. As we began to walk, I asked her were we were going. It was someplace that she hadn’t been before, so she couldn’t explain where it was.

After walking for five minutes, we crossed the last street that parallels the sea. We turned to the right and Ira pointed to a building in the distance. We walked some more. I saw the new soccer field as she pointed beyond it to a new group of buildings. It was dark, so nothing looked normal to me.

The group of buildings was behind a tall security fence with guards. We were directed to the second entrance. Passing through the gate, I was overwhelmed. The buildings towered three stories and were attached in an L shape. The courtyard was laid out in stylish stonework. It had a very European look.
We entered the building, not an impressive entrance, and found our way to the coat room. A very nice gentleman was hanging up coat behind an enclose counter. Across from this counter was the entrance to our evening adventure.

As you can see from the pictures above, the ball room was very beautiful. I never expected to see anything like this in Illichevsk. Moreover, I never dreamed that I would be invited to such an occasion.

As people continued to arrive, the wait staff made final table setting preparations. It was all very beautiful. And what was most wonderful was that it was all for charity, for the children and those in need.

We had a very nice evening of performances in dance, music, and song. There was an auction that raised some money for the cause. And finally there was a time for dancing and conversation and fancy food to snack on.

Ira had to run along to take care of her baby, Sofia. I stayed a while longer, chatted with one young woman who spoke good English, and then I, too, headed for home.

This first annual Charity Ball speaks volumes for the potential future of Illichevsk … of Ukraine.

Next Saturday I will write about my adventure with skin cancer, the physical, mental, and spiritual revelations that I experienced.

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