I want to share with you Masha's letter that she wrote to George and I but which, in fact, is addressed to all of you who share your love with Russian kids. Masha is now Andrei's assistant in the Dacha Program and she also teaches cooking classes at the Vladimir Ministry Center. So, here's Masha's letter: " Thank you for believing in me and loving me. I’m really glad to be a member of Orphan's Tree team. Honestly, I never thought I would be, so this was unexpected for me. Thank you for giving me such an opportunity. I finally found a job that I like with a good group of people who are friends that I respect.
I know that this project helps kids to live independently, and they will realize that they shouldn’t just live for themselves, waiting for someone to help them, but for other people and other kids who need help and understanding.
I see how kids like this project, and for that reason, they travel to the dacha. The kids enjoy all the interesting things there are to do in the village that’s not available in the city (going to the forest, gathering mushrooms and berries, working in the garden, pure water, cross-country skiing, and fresh air). That’s a big advantage for the village and all of us.
I really love kids, respect them, and try to help them so that they would be comfortable in the village and in life in general. The kids also respect me and know that I would never hurt them. The kids sometimes ask for advice, and I try to give the advice they need.
I lead cooking classes at Vladimir Ministry Center. The kids like how I cook, and they themselves enjoy cooking as well. They are already used to the fact that we have these classes on a regular basis, and they are glad I came up with the idea. When I’m not there, they ask the staff or call me to find out when the next class will be and what we’ll be making. I enjoy the fact that the kids like to learn about cooking, and it’s my desire to continue teaching them. I will attempt to do what I can so that we will walk together along the right path with confidence and love. Then there will be success.
Here’s a poem I wrote (rhymes in Russian, of course):
In the New Year, in a new home with new fixtures
So that you would live well, first bring a cat into the place.
It will fly and sing and bring lots of happiness.