Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pie in the eye ball

Today we did much of the same. Breakfast. Camp. Starribilsk. Shooting gallery. Lunch. Back to camp. Our driver Sergey, bored out of his wits I am sure by this point, joined in our volleyball circle. There is a tank that I have been wanting to stop and take pictures of so we stopped today even though there was a wedding party there doing photographs. It seems to be a traditon that court weddings are on Saturdays and after the ceremony, they drive all over town for photographs. Guests follow along in their own cars.

At 5:00 we watched the Bela girls compete in a pioneer ball game. I have always wanted to know what this game consisted of and now I do. Its sort of like volleyball but you catch it and throw it back over the net. Sveta was the team star, with a killer throw/spike. They won, as I think they do every competition they participate in. Gabrielle played very well also. She is surprising me with her athletic skills. We are happy that she wants to join me and Alexandra in our ballroom dancing lessons. I guess at this point we are just happy that she wants to be joining us, period. These long and monotonous days, with hours spent crammed like sardines into the backseat of a car, often get everyone in a bad mood and there is usually bickering going on at some point during the day. The kids get mad over nothing and I spend 90% of my time refereeing. I know that it passes soon enough, however. Court is day after tomorrow. Gabe and Roman (and now Vitalik) are leaving for Kyiv in 4 days. The countdown will be on.

In spite of the long days and frequent bickering, we spend a lot of time laughing as well. Ever since we got pulled over for the first time, by a very skinny militia man that Vitalik nicknamed Suharki, we call every militia we see “Inspector Suharki.” Then there’s the language faux pas. Like when Gabe sat down next to a little girl one morning when we arrived at camp and said “paka”. Or like today when someone said “pioneer ball” and Gabe exclaimed “pie in the eye ball?!”. I guess you never know.

Tomorrow we will go pick up Gabrielle and bring her back to Lugansk for court on Monday. I think the reality of leaving her friends and the only life she has ever known is starting to sink in. She seems a little pensive at times. It takes courage to do what these kids do. They should be an inspiration to us all.

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