At least in my part of Ukraine, winter was relatively mild - not much snow and consistently cold, but not frigid, temps. It's not exactly spring here yet, but a few sunny and warmer days here and there hint that spring is coming.
Our rehab center continues to be consistently busy, with new patients on a waiting list for spots in our schedule. We have been blessed to obtain new supplies for our center. Thanks to generous financial donors we now have an electrical stimulator, new toys for our children's room, theraband, and other supplies. We were also able to have another rolling mirror and 3 adjustable benches made by the brother of one of our therapists. And thanks to a therapy clinic in Arkansas, we have a wide array of pediatric orthotics and shoes ready and waiting for kids in need.
Who doesn't love Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head?!
Some of you know that Sveta was able to go to America for 3 weeks. She came home for all of 24 hours then set off for the Netherlands where she is doing a 2+ month internship at a large rehab hospital, specializing in the treatment of people with spinal cord injuries. We feel her absence from our center greatly, but are excited she has these opportunities. To my benefit, her absence means I get to spend more time with patients. Ira has been working at our center for several years as an assistant/helper, but she has no medical background and has been trained completely on the job. She has primarily worked with adults, but prior to Sveta's departure she agreed to start learning how to work with kids, as long as she had one of us in her sessions. So she and I are now partners with 3 kids and we are both learning...Ira is learning facilitation techniques, therapy ideas, etc and I am learning simple commands in Ukrainian. As long as we keep playing, the kids are very forgiving of both of our mistakes. Here are a few rehab pics:
Ira learning to work with Stasik.
Rehab with Leonid (Alla) and Vova (Ira).
Rehab with Oksana
When I'm not involved in patient care, I continue to spend my time studying Ukrainian and preparing the PT training school. My language skills are improving, though never as fast as I would like. Of course, with Sveta gone I spend almost of my time in the presence of Ukrainian-only speakers, so God-willing the progress will get faster. The therapists I work with are pretty good at understanding what I'm trying to get across, even when I can't say it correctly.
Starting in January, we implemented weekly seminars for our therapists. We meet for 30 minutes to an hour on Tuesdays and I lead the seminar. These seminars have multiple benefits. All topics that we cover will be used in our future PT training center, so one of our therapists takes thorough notes and later types them. This method will hopefully cut back on the time needed later to translate the material I am preparing for the school. Also I get to practice teaching clearly and concisely and our therapists get to review and/or learn new material. Katya, one of our therapists, also speaks English and can translate while Sveta is gone. Unfortunately she has been sick so our seminars will resume as soon as she is well.
Alla enjoyed her role as patient during our transfer training seminar
On her one day in Lutsk, our team organized a surprise birthday party for Sveta. Her birthday isn't until the end of the month so she was easy to surprise and everyone was glad to see her, even if only for a couple of hours.
All of our female therapists: Sveta, Katya, Alla, Ira, me
While we don't celebrate it in America, International Women's Day on March 8th is a big holiday in Ukraine. A few girls came to my apartment after church and we celebrated with lunch, fellowship, and a game.
Ira, Julia, Veeka, and I
Last time I tried to link a video I was unsuccessful, so if you are interested a new video has been made and is in English. Just search for "Agape Rehabilitation Complex" on YouTube.
Thanks to all of you who stay up with what's going on here and pray for me and for the ministry! I am so thankful for you and would love to hear from you too! Just a few more pictures to finish:
beautiful building at night
A sign of spring in Ukraine - birch juice is on the way