Final Days at Ternopil Site

This week we travelled every day from Ternopil city to the village of Berezhany, where there is a sub site of the Ternopil Chalice Sponsor Site. We worked at the residential school for students who are physically or mentally challenged. Some children are orphans so will remain in care until age 18. Others just attend during the week. Although school was out for most students, those without families stay until July, so we were able to spend time with them. For July and most of August they are transferred to one of two other care facilities so that both they and the teachers have a break. During the tour from the principal, we saw the speech therapy room, the kitchen with new equipment, the carpentry room, 3 updated sewing machines and sports equipment – all donated by Chalice. 

The renovation of buildings is impressive. The boys' dormitory is already renewed, one in pink and another in green to create variety and brightness. They have sewn their own coverlets to match the decor.

In the meantime the First Aid instructors created an environment where the ladies were made comfortable enough to learn the basics. A First Aid kit for each participant was also prepared, using donations brought from across Canada. The leaders of the HEAL training (Helping Everyone with Addicted Lives) were impressed with the willingness of the group to share once it was clear that the twelve step program is not unique for one culture but can be used anywhere. The rest of the group helped spread dirt for a garden, paint the registers, or clean up after construction.

We visited a number of villages and were greeted at each site with bread and salt, lively songs, dancing, and always delicious food and drink. One village shared the juice of the birch tree, similar to the method of our sugar maple. Other villagers shared their embroidery, wood crafts, or farm activities. The embroidery is beautiful and many of us saw pieces we purchased. The wood crafts were created by artisans trained in carving over many generations. 

On our final excursion to a farm site, most of us walked but the farmer's cart was pulled by 2 horses and filled with kids. Some travellers used a scythe, some a sickle, and myself, a hoe. There even was an opportunity to milk a goat while the family dog stood guard. After the grass was cut, the blankets were placed on the ground and out came ... you guessed it... more food. Can't begin to describe the awesome picnic spread.