Hello family and friends,
Covid-19 has returned to our fair city. There are 348 new cases as of October 3. Some of the schools have closed their doors and have returned to online education until all of the teachers have received their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. With a seven-day average of 237 new cases, I am pleased to see that our city is taking action. The bus systems are not demanding that people wear masks, but that regulation may come back, too.
Summertime showed very low statistics about the virus. Now that so many people are spending more time inside, and in large groups the statistics have risen from 3 new cases in a day to 237 new cases.
The good news is that Sveta and I received our Pfizer shots. While standing in line, we heard many stories and comments, pro and con, about people still not wanting the shots, or are sitting on the fence about the safety issues.
While I was working in our workshop one day, I noticed that the concrete floor by the wall was cracking. Upon closer inspection, I found that the floor was breaking up by each wall. I took a small sledge hammer and broke up a piece of the floor. To my surprise, the concrete floor was only one inch thick.
Deciding to remove the whole floor, section by section, I became educated about pouring a concrete workshop floor. The broken concrete was a great substitute for gravel, and it was free! Digging down eight inches, I leveled out four inches of broken concrete and gravel, then Sveta and I mixed and poured concrete four inches thick. We have one section to complete. You can see the tools we use.
Pouring a concrete floor in sections is time consuming. Step by step, we will find the end of this project. It may not be beautiful now, but it will be fully functional.
A number of years ago while visiting the children at the Dobromel Orphanage, Luba, the librarian, approached Mark and introduced herself. She told Mark that there were a number of computers in the library that were not being used. Most of the children and a number of the teachers did not know how to work with computers. Luba asked if MUCH would sponsor her to teach a computer class in the library. Mark was impressed with Luba’s initiative!
In one of their conversations, they discussed expectation. What progress did MUCH sponsors need to see to value and finance the program? Mark explained that any progress would be enough to understand change in the quality of life of a child. It continues to be a long road, but Luba has used the computers to brighten the lives of the children.
Using computers to alter the education experience of children with mental disabilities opens their visual, audio, speech, and tactile communication of their minds. This is nothing new in todays fast paced world of technology. The reality in Ukraine is that computer programmers are popping up everywhere. Programs for the disabled are made available on the internet market. The problem is that the government apparently does not value the potential of children with disabilities enough to provide a computer teacher in the budget of the education system in orphanages for children with disabilities.
Our goal is find some skill that the child, may be able to use in a job situation. Higher skilled children may develop basic office skills. Lower capability children may develop hand eye coordination using the keyboard. Each child is raising his/her quality of life when they learn through the computer.
Vanya, 12 years old, comes from a large family. Of his five brothers and sisters, two who are younger also live in the Dobromel Orphanage. While his family lived in Kiev he attended a regular high school.
Even though Vanya was evaluated and determined to need special education at an early age, he was not place in a special school until just recently.
His education was limited. He never learned to read, or even understand the alphabet. Vanya was enrolled in the ninth grade, because of age rather than ability.
Vanya is easily distracted, and his memory is very weak. He has a restless character, but is not aggressive. He enjoys interacting with his classmates, listening to their conversations and opinions. Vanya wants to imitate them, but is unable to do so.
The computer class is a positive experience for Vanya. He requires repetition upon repetition to lock in a new concept. Luba uses the keyboard to connect the alphabet with the computer. Using many visual attributes of the computer, Luba has begun the long journey of teaching Vanya to read.
Luba shares her loving patience with children in two class periods of seven students per class. They are all challenged in different ways, requiring individual programs. It is a lot of work for Luba . Helping people find their passion is so exciting!
Living my dream,
Thanks to each of you who read our stories, and share them in your conversations. Thank you sponsors and prayer warriors for making our journey possible!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
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