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February has been a mild, but bone chilling month here in Illichevsk, by the sea. Financial problems are not so evident to me in Illichevsk, but while I was in Marganets I saw first-hand the third hand effect of their economic crisis (blog post Country in Crisis, Family in Crisis).

A number of things happened during my January visit to Marganets. The director of the Dobromel orphanage wants to begin a student exchange with the Marganets orphanage. As I shared this idea with the director in Marganets, I was pleased to see her interest. Anatoliy, my manager in Marganets, has begun the communication. Since both orphanages have computer laboratories, a letter writing campaign between some of the children is the first step. I look forward to this long-term project to open many new doors for the children.

I was very happy to learn what Andre has accomplished with the children in the computer lab. He teaches the art and wood craft classes, also. He took courses to learn how to teach computer skills to children with learning disabilities. Last year was their first year to have computer classes in their curriculum. MUCH supported one class of eight students in 2008. I saw some of the wonderful results in a PowerPoint presentation that Andre created using some of the children’s graphic art work. I was very impressed. It will be a part of my presentation that I show when I visit America in April. You will be impressed, too.

Andre has learned many things in the past year. Government funding from two years ago helped the orphanage upgrade many things. When I asked Andre for video of the music and dance program and the massage program, he promised to have a CD for me before I left. It was so great for me to see visual evidence of the massage treatments. I will bring both the massage and the music and dance videos to show, also.

If anyone has genuine information about using sensory stimulation equipment, please post a comment below. The staff understands sensory stimulation, but need a few tips on how to use some of the equipment. It is so encouraging to see the drive of these people to do the work, and do it well. With a little help from MUCH, they have taken some big steps forward.

Our professors from the Slippery Rock University, Department of Therapeutic Recreation have postponed their visit to Illichevsk until June. Please pray for Dr. Hutchins, her father who is in the hospital, and her family, as they walk down this difficult road.

I will fly to America on March 25th. I will be fine-tuning my visit between now and then. I plan to stop in Beckley, WV on my way to PA. I’ll be in the PA area the week of April 12th. I will be in FL parts of the last week of April and the first week of May. I hope to visit in the Baltimore area. I will be visiting different towns in NC throughout my time in America. I have some other unconfirmed possibilities.

I have a great (he said humbly) PowerPoint presentation to share with all who are interested. It touches on six groups of children in four different cities in three geographical areas. It is the most informative presentation that I have assembled. It includes the presentations that Andre made as mentioned above.

Please contact me and let me know if I may visit you during my time in America.

Blessings of love and healing,


P.S. Ira will return in March with another great Ira’s Insight about her life in Ukraine and her experiences with MUCH!

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