Thisweek Grasi welcomed two new children, two and four year old brothers. Thelittle boys arrived from a town near Riga called Salaspils and have alreadybeen adopted by the children of Klavas house. They arrived late on Thursday andhave already spent time settling in and getting to know the other children. Itis great to be able to have more children at Grasi.
On Monday morning it was only minus 22°C,so after four days off thechildren where able to go back to school. The forecast for the next week is nowbeginning to warm up just a little bit (it isn’t expected to reach the minus30’s again).
One of the educators, Dzintra has had to taketime off due to an operation and slowly she is returning back to the children’svillage, much to the delight of the children.
Alviscelebrated his 13th birthday on Saturday night with a small party inKlavas house. It was a nice sit down dinner with lots of games, screamingchildren, cake and presents.
Planning is now underway for the building of afourth house for the children. This house will be situated next to Oslejas, sothat there will be two pairs of houses that are neighbors to one another. Atthe moment we are still looking for sponsors to help finance the full house. Howeverit is hoped that this summer the outside of the house can be built and then intime when there is funding available the house can be finished. Having a fourthhouse will allow more children to live at this orphanage and experience the environmentwhich makes Grasi unique and leads to better outcomes for the children here.
Although there isn’t any national statistics,the information that has been gathered so far has found that the children whohave grown up here have a higher rate of reaching higher education then thosefrom traditional orphanages. This is because of the care they receive and theconstant support from a range of donors from around the world who help to fundthe education of individuals who are definitely bright enough, but may not havehad access, simply because of they grew up in an orphanage and don’t have afamily to provide support.
Every year people contact the orphanageoffering to volunteer and help, and of those many make the trip and most stayin touch. Any past volunteers who may be reading this- if you have any stories,photos or memories of your time here that you would like to share- we wouldlove to hear from you. Volunteering in an orphanage is a great experience as itallows the children to meet people from a range of countries, helping todevelop their language skills, but it also encourages the volunteers to reallyexperience a new culture and make a difference. The volunteers normally havelunch and dinner at the orphanage, where traditional Latvian food is eaten (inboth times I’ve been at Grasi there has been Swedish, Spanish, French andAustralian volunteers and the food has always been very different from backhome). The volunteers are also encouraged to take part in the different eventsthe children attend- school concerts and performances, church, chapel andplaying with them outside. In the afternoons the volunteers normally help theolder children with their homework, and by helping read, write and talk in English.
Ps.just as I said would happen- Grasi went from having 3 houses full of healthy childrento a few sick coughing children during the week.