Author: Robert N. is on his second trip to Slobodskoy. Traveling with him are his wife and youngest daughter, while his oldest daughter offers prayers and support from college.
It’s been a quick year since the Spring 2010 trip to Slobodskoy. We are currently at 39,000 feet comfortably tucked into the cabin of a jumbo jet sipping cranberry-apple juice and snacking on trail mix.
The children in Slobodskoy are comfortably tucked into bed and sound asleep, probably weary after another day of school, sports, character building. Galina, the director, and the many caregivers that are the children’s daily family have been making final preparations for our arrival this Sunday morning. Misha and Masha, the disciplers for the orphanage who have been wonderful to the children and to us as well, are beginning their anxious countdown until Sunday. The interpreters, including college students and teachers we know from previous trips, are getting ready to spend a week making sure 21 travelers have no difficulties communicating in a foreign land to people we have traveled a long way to see.
We’re all just living our lives, but cascading toward an explosion of activity and joy. We’ve been there before. We have thought often of the children and everyone involved in their lives. We include all of them when we say grace each night before dinner, we have their pictures displayed on tables and bookshelves, we have slide shows of our previous Spring trip and we have many precious gifts from previous trips. Our lives are so different, so far apart, yet we need to go back. I wonder if our need is greater than that of the children’s. Maybe not, but maybe the same. So much effort for a week, but what a week!
I bumped into a friend at the grocery store last night. I wonder what the Russian children would think of Harris Teeter in Chapel Hill. I mentioned the trip and she asked why we would go all the way to Russia when there were children in need right here in North Carolina. I told her it was tough to explain, but it had to do with not having a choice. We were led to an orphanage in Slobodskoy Russia and that’s just where we were supposed to go. You know when something just seems right. Why else would some of these folks be on their third journey in 12 months? Why else would someone travel halfway around the world by plane, train and bus to spend five days with these children, caregivers, disciplers, interpreters, these travelers?
Only God knows, but it is going to change our lives …. Again.