Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I enjoyed a couple of weeks of snow, but now the 35F plus weather has brought the rain. Snow may return before spring arrives, but it will not stay long here by the Black Sea. The weather changes most unpredictably. Sveta is moving my residency documents along quickly, as my Visa D will expire February 21. Life is good.
The Christmas Fundraiser has made it possible for the computer program to begin this month at the Dobromel Orphanage for special needs children. We are so pleased that we are able to offer the children massage therapy that began last January, and computer classes this year. We look forward to hearing and seeing the progress results. We have talked with the director of the orphanage, and he is very grateful. We pass this note of thanks on to you, the sponsors.
The sewing machine for the Marganets Orphange will be delivered this month. Sveta will order through the internet, it will be delivered to a shipping company in Marganets, and our manager there, Anatoliy, will pay for it and deliver it to the orphanage. Cash on delivery is quite common in Ukraine, and gives me considerable peace of mind because I don’t have to worry about my debit card being compromised. On another front, we provided the transition home in Marganets with one washing machine. I will share the rest of the washing machine story in the March Newsletter.
I want to share a story with you about one of my special children. D. was born with Cerebral Palsy. She began to receive medical attention at the age of two, which is the old Soviet mentality. I met her when she was four years old. Palsy affected her legs and feet, but she used all the muscles in her body when she would try to walk. Her inability to balance caused her to fall to one side or the other. It would soon be time for her to begin kindergarten, and then school. To do this, she would need to be able to walk on her own, maneuvering through her day independently.
Sveta and I met with her at a massage therapy session in the fall of last year. She was eight, and is winning her battle. She attends school, is walking independently, and is very happy. Her challenges will continue until she stops growing, but she works very hard combating her muscle imbalance and spasticity. I have assembled a video of her therapy and her triumphs. Take five minutes and cheer her on as you watch how far she has come in the featured video at the top of this post.
Sveta has some wonderful stories to share this month. Our massage therapists keep us in-touch with the progress of the children through progress reports. In Illichevsk, at the end of sessions, they invite us to take pictures and video the children, displaying their new abilities.
Yesterday Mark and I visited a new child; this is our first visit to him. His name is G. and he is five months old. Two months ago, he received his first treatment of ten massages. Now Tanya, one of our massage therapists, is giving him a second ten-day massage treatment. Immediately from the first days of treatment, Tanya and his mother noticed improvements in G. — relaxation of tense muscles in his neck and back, now G. can turn his head to either side. Before the massage he could only turn his head to one side.
After the second treatment of massage, the spasticity in his right arm and leg diminished considerably. Some questionable movement in his left hand remains.
We will watch as massages and special exercise may improve the operation and development of the muscles and give direction to the proper growth of the skeletal system. The problem is much easier and faster to fix in infancy than when the child is older (I’m not talking about an extremely serious diagnosis. If a child receives massage early, the results will be greater, but if massage comes later for the child, it will take more time and more work to come close to the before mentioned results, if they will at all).
A., is a sweet baby girl who was adopted by a lovely family. Her new parents are very caring toward their child, take good care of her, and have much patience with her. They need to work hard to help her develop properly in her body and mind. A. is one year and four months old, but she cannot walk like most children at her age. Doctors diagnosed her: mental retardation and spastic syndrome. She received her first twenty-day massage last month. These are the results that Tanya and A.’s mother saw. The girl began to crawl.
She can stand without adult support for about one minute.Now she can get off the bed by herself and she began to speak the word “mama.”
When we met in the massage room, the mom enthusiastically told us what the girl is now able to do. The mother glowed with happiness. A. will have the next massage course after a month. Patience and love are winning. This is only the first step. She needs to continue to work with the muscles of her body to develop into a healthy child.
Little K. has regularly received massage treatment from when she was eight months old; now she is two years old.
Doctors and parents did not immediately find a problem in her physical development so the massage was started a little late, but even this did not interfere with the results. Before the massage, a big difference was evident; one cheek on her face was large and the other was smaller. Now, both of K.’s cheeks look the same. The muscles on the left side of her neck are shorter, causing stiff neck. Now she turns her head to either side. Tanya continues to work with K. and focuses on the left side of the body, relaxing spastic muscles of the arm and leg.
I described three children who had massages in a very short time, but received great results. All three mothers told us what their children’s problems were before the first massage, and how happy they are now, seeing such excellent results. We were also very happy with them. For me they were real miracles; whenever I see or hear about the results after the massage, my heart is filled with joy for these children and their parents. These are not the end-results; our massage therapist will continue to work with these children until our goals are met.
Living my dream,
We are so grateful for all of your interest in our children and the love that you have for them. Your financial gifts and prayers make all of what we do here possible. Without MUCH, the children with special need, those in orphanages, and the poor wanting to attend higher eduction would be forgotten, or their needs minimized to a survival status. As you can see on the right toward the top, we have six programs that fall into three major categories. In March we will talk about the transportation scholarship program. We will give details of what is happening now and what our goals are. Until then, may God bless you and fill your lives with joy and prosperity.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta