Summary of our journey at Barskoe Gorodische Orphanage, Suzdal region
For the entire journal, click here.
We were shocked by the conditions the kids were existing in
on our first visit to Barskoe Gorodische Orphanage near Suzdal in 1998. This orphanage
was the home to kids with little or no future. Most have lower mental
skills and little opportunity for success. To make their situation
more complicated, the government decided to close the only home they knew.
The director, Alex, countered with plan...if they continued to pay the
workers, he would find a way to feed and clothe the kids. They agreed
to let him try. He found us and we were honored to help.
The only restroom had no plumbing, essentially an indoor outhouse.
The fumes permeated the school house and meeting areas. The dorms were
freezing, not because the lack of heat, but because the windows allowed the
cold to blow straight through. The kids were sleeping 2 to a bed as their
feet hung over the foot boards. The cafeteria foundation was sinking
into the nearby river. Even the rats were struggling to survive due to
the lack of food, the cupboards were literal bare. We saw the challenge
and chose to get involved.
When we formed Treasures in 2000, Barskoe became our major concern. The
simplest, easiest, and fastest to accomplish was beds and bedding. We
could show the kids someone had seen the needs and had purposed to help.
A new concept for the dorms was bunk beds with shelves, hooks and drawers
were built. Doubling the floor space and giving each kid their first
personal, albeit small, space. We gave them feather bed
coverlets and pillows for each bed and purchased sheets and towels
when we visited to inspect the beds.
Now, we needed to provide warmth for the kids. Each dorm
needed new roofs, windows, floors, repaired, painted walls, and
their first flushing toilets. With the completion of these projects, heat remained inside the
The most complicated project was the 300 year old
building housing mud room, wash up area, dining room, kitchen, and pantry.
It was a historical building, so legally we had to refurbish instead of
rebuilding. The roof had failed years before causing water damage in
the dining room, a new roof and ceiling solved the problem. New piers
and retaining walls stabilized the kitchen from total collapse. Next,
we repaired the walls, ceilings, floors, and fixtures with new up to date
materials. Ancient appliances were replaced with restaurant quality
equipment. Knifes, silverware, pots, pans, dishes, bowls, tables, you
name it and we updated it with first class quality. Our mandate is
"first fruits". We serve a King "with the cattle on a thousand hills".
We believe a gift should be a treasure not something we would discard, which
is what we have given them. At times, we have had to be stern with the
staff...they want to put the gifts up for special occasions. Everyday
is a special occasion, use them now, tomorrow is not guaranteed!
While doing all this, we have also outdated all piping
to the entire orphanage, provided a new tractor, American seeds for
vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, bee hives, farm animals, sewing machines,
play rooms, boots, clothing, brought in a team of dentists, commercial
washer, and much more. We have several major projects awaiting
- Showers and toilets available for daytime usage
- Flooring for dining room
- Teaching woodworking shop
- Laundry room
- Gym for use during winter