They Have Known Hunger

Orphans in kichen

The above picture shows two of the brothers we hope to host this summer.  On the left is the youngest- then age 7.  On the right is the oldest, then 14.  (They have each had a birthday since their Christmas visit.)  They are in my kitchen eating pudding, because they had each had a tooth or two pulled along with other dental work.

We asked once what their favorite part of the visit was.   The older boy said getting to know us, especially Tato.  The younger boy said the food.   We were told ahead of time orphans from Ukraine (and other countries as well) tend to have food issues.  They have know what it is to be hungry in a way few Americans have.  While they were here, I kept a perpetual supply of food available – yogurts in the fridge, and, on the kitchen island,  a large tupperware container intended for deviled eggs, nested over a shallow bowl of ice.   My deviled egg container is kind of odd- it looks like it was made for goose eggs rather than hen’s eggs, so each little egg shaped section holds almost half a cup of food.   I kept each deviled egg compartment full of various healthy snacks- cherry tomatoes, radishes, cheese cubes, sausages cut into bite sized pieces, cabbage, green onions, salted almonds, carrots, snow peas, clementines, bananas, berries, and more- oh, cubed breads of various varieties too.  I watched what disappeared and replenished that, and what did not get eaten I incorporated into a soup and replaced with some other food.  The 7 year old boldly went through the food one morning pointing at each one and saying, in his delightful accented English mixed with his native tongue, which is neither Ukraine nor Russian. “Yes, this.  This? No.  This?  Da, da, da.  This? Nyet. uh, no (and he would cross his arms at the wrist, holding them up in a common everywhere but America gesture for ‘no, stop.’).

I have shared before that the younger boy did stash some bread in his sweat suit the first couple of days, but after that I observed no hoarding, although Hoarding is very, very typical. As it turns out, I missed another example.  I cleaned out their closet a couple of days after they left.  But yesterday I deep cleaned it,  and stashed away in a small bag, wrapped tightly, pushed to the very back of the highest shelf (I have no idea how he reached it), I found a stash of suckers, lollypops which had been in every child’s Christmas stocking.  Apparently, not every child got all their lollypops.

I’ve since learned that just about four months before the above picture was taken, the children in their orphanage had a week without any food, and no expectation of food for the next few weeks.  Their director scrambled to find food for them and to find out why the children had been cut off.  She was told there were simply not any funds  left in the district administration for feeding orphans at that time.  I do not even have words.

Here, quite often, when we say we have no food in the house, we mean we don’t have anything we like or want to cook.  We might mean there are only dried beans left.  Rarely, very rarely, we may mean this literally.  But there, there were no dried beans, no potatoes or wilted lettuce.  There was no food for nearly 2 dozen children- for a week, and no knowledge of when they could eat again or how.  Some adults from the school brought some potatoes & canned food for the children, but it wasn’t enough and it was not sustainable.  The director reached out to a charity she found- possibly on the internet, I don’t know.  She begged for help, and the agency, on learning how severe the need was, immediately worked to help.  The agency, btw, does not own a vehicle, nor did anybody who worked with them.  They put out a plea for help purchasing or donations of food toward 2 weeks of food, and also for somebody with a car to help them deliver the food to these starving children.

In recent, very recent, memory, the children in the picture above have been without food for days at a time- and yet, the oldest brother still gave about half of his food to his younger brother- at first, closer to a third of it.

Or maybe I said that wrong, perhaps it is not ‘and yet…’ but rather, ‘and therefore, this big brother still gives his little brother half of his food.’

We must bring all four brothers over for 8 weeks this summer.  I’m going to feed them, and feed them some more.

I’m going to show them how to grow cherry tomatoes, radishes, and lettuces (the last two in a windowsill garden).  I’m going to show them how to compost and grow more greens from turnip and beet tops.

I’m going to show the oldest how to make five or six easy, cheap dishes- potato pancakes, omelettes, soup, potato salad, and hash browns and bubble and squeak, regular pancakes, and rolled Japanese omelettes.

We’re going to love them, advocate for them, let them use hammers and screwdrivers and wrenches, and a microscope and paints and clay and bread dough. We’re going to take them swimming and biking and bowling.

We’re going to love on them some more and sing songs with them and tell them stories, and show them some ideas about learning and doing well in life that we hope will be helpful to them.  And we’re going to love on them some more.

We’re going to show them a list of names (including anonymouses) and say ‘this person, this person, that person, this person, all these people, all of them helped us bring you here for this summer visit so you could learn, play, relax, and spend time in a family.  So many people care about you and wonder how you are doing and hope and pray for your success.’

We’re going to work hard to find ways to keep in touch and help them out when we can.

And I’m going to feed them, and show them how to shop on a budget and I’ll feed them some more, and then we’ll have some discussions on healthy eating, and I’ll feed them again, trying to make that hard, hungry, frightened look in the back of their eyes go away forever.

I’m probably over-ambitious and we won’t be able to do all of those things.  However, we will be able to do more of them here than the boys will be able to accomplish on their own back in an orphanage.

Whatever we do, we can only with God’s blessing and much needed help from others. We need to make our full payment for their tickets and fees for travel by May 10th. Right now, we have one boy fully funded, and we are a few hundred dollars short of all our hosting fees for the second- and we want to bring all four boys.  Please, pass the link to the youcaring site on to others, and pray with and for us, and if you can, donate something- it doesn’t matter how small.

You can donate directly through youcaring.

You can donate via check directly to Guglielmo’s hope- write on your check (and maybe let me know) that it is earmarked for the four brothers.  They’ll know who you mean. This method is tax deductable.

You could make a paypal donation directly to us to use for the four orphaned boys- bringing them over, buying clothes for them, or feeding them:

Whatever you can do- whether it is reading this post all the way through, passing on the link to the post or to our youcaring link to others, praying, donating, or something else- we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We know how many calls there are for help, and we are so grateful for those who choose this call as theirs to answer in whatever small way you can. On behalf of these precious, crazy, active, energetic, wonderful, wonderful boys, we thank you.

Help us feed and nourish them like they have never known before, hearts, body, mind, and soul.

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