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Each orphaned child has a unique way of dealing with their lack of family experience.

I think that it is the individuality of the child, with or without family, which enables the child to cope with his/her life situation.

During the past six years, I have encountered many personalities of the children whom I serve. Yuri is one of those children whom I have dearly enjoyed. When we first met, this little boy was full of energy, animation, and hunger for attention. Most memorable was his smile, full of expression, with big dimples to accentuate his positive attitude.

During each visit, Yuri would make a special point to present himself to me. He would have a few questions for me and would always want to show me something that he had done. He was more upfront than most of the other boys. In 2003, the MUCH gift of a sound system brought about an opportunity for the children to have a dance on Sunday afternoons.

I happened to be at the orphanage on a Sunday afternoon in the course of one of my quarterly visits. The children were very anxious for me to join them at their discothèque experience. Of all of the children, Yuri had the most animated dance. His clothes didn’t fit well, he wasn’t very clean, but his heart was wide open and he was not the least bit inhibited in his expression through dance.

In March of 2008, I found a very different Yuri. As a teenage, he was dealing with a very different life. Cigarettes, alcohol, and possibly drugs were a part of the peer pressures that he had to make decisions about. When he would present himself to me he wanted me to approve of him, but he hid the part of him that he didn’t want me to know about. He was caught up in trying to be who and what he thought others wanted him to be. I wanted to know who Yuri had become.

In September of 2008, MUCH brought a Marganets resident onto the MUCH team to teach the children drug and alcohol prevention, morality, self image, and other positive reinforcement principles. Children like Yuri will now have a better opportunity to choose what is right for him and know that it is Ok to be an individual, to be Yuri.

See you next week!

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