I look into a room, which has only one small bulb lit.
A whole bunch of kids are running around, and one can hear every possible type of cough–from the dry to the most moist and deep.
The kids are all busy. Some are drawing, others are pulling each other by the hair, yet others are just talking.
I sneak up and try to take a photo, but the treacherous flash spooks everyone.
–I remember you. Did you bring us ice cream?
The little boy is not shy at all. He walks right up to me and looks up with curiosity.
Inna Vladimirovna, a young and pretty teacher, walks into the room.
I walk up to her and whisper:
–Could I give them a few corn chips?
–No way! It’s time for supper. They won’t eat anything.
It’s always like that. No matter what time we come, it’s always either lunch or dinner.
The sound of cough reverberates through the room.
–Try not to catch it!
As I wandered, the older kids helped my Zhenyas and Lena unload the food and other goods which we delivered to the orphanage.
–Could I at least give them apples?
–Apples are fine.
The kids totally enveloped me while I was distributing the apples.
While apples were disappearing, heads appeared in the second floor window.
It’s the sick ones.
A minute later all of them were glued to the window.
The teachers and nurses started to laugh.
Many of the kids who were here in the summer are gone.
It’s not exactly an orphanage. Some parents in difficult circumstances leave their kids for a time.
Some of the kids who were here in the summer were taken back by their parents.
The dorm is not too big–about 20 kids.
There are orphans, and kids whose parents lost parenting rights. But there are also many who are here for the weekdays and go home on the weekends.
–They are well fed and warm here. They are being cared for. There are different cases here.
Humanitarian aid is being regularly delivered to orphanages and retirement homes.
But there’s a general problem with vegetables, dairy products, and meat.
I’ve written about it many times, but the situation has not changed.
Moreover, Donbass children suffer from a deficit of vitamins.
It’s not something synthetic tablets alone can solve.
It’s the cold time of the year, and they need balanced nutrition.
Not just canned meat and grains, which is what the official aid mainly consists of.
Which is what the republics have been living on for over a year.
They need fruits, vegetables…
After the photo we went up stairs to give apples to the sick.
Once again I was surrounded.
–What kind of camera is that? Can we see photos?
–It’s an underwater camera!
This really got the kids excited.
–You can take photos underwater? Cool! Show us!
–I’d need at least a bathtub. But I’ll show you.
Then Zhenya came in, and things really started happening.
At first everyone started to pose. Girls were making funny “adult” poses, boys were making faces and making hand gestures which were considered fashionable among them.
Then there was the obligatory collective viewing.
–Will you come again?
–Of course–because who else would bring you apples?
And lightbulbs. Can’t forget about the lightbulbs.