Saturday, May 05, 2007


Yura is a young man who works for Nita at God's Hidden Treasures. He works in the wheelchair shop helping to assemble and repair wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. He has become an expert at setting up the wheelchairs at the homes of people who receive them. I personally watched him give patient instruction to the disabled and elderly on the proper use of their new wheelchairs. I had the pleasure of visiting Yura at his home that he shares with two other young men, Zhannia and Ruslan, who also work for Nita. He gave me a tour of their garden and showed me all the painting he had been doing around the place since the weather warmed up. Yura has an old Soviet motorcycle that he fixed up, but on the morning I was there, it didn't "feel" like starting. I discovered that Yura can not only play the accordion, but seems to really have a talent for it. He played a song about Jesus for me and I was impressed at how easy he made it seem. He told me that he taught himself how to play by sitting in front of a mirror so he could see where to put his fingers.

The amazing thing about Yura is that he was sentenced to a life of confinement in an institution where he would have been until he died. He was labeled as "retarded" by the state and deemed unfit to ever function in society. Yura, along with Zhannia and Ruslan, were rescued from the retarded boys home. Nita bought a house for them and taught them the skills that they would need to live on their own. She gave them jobs and eventually required them to completely support themselves. They no longer receive any type of aide, but have learned to be independent and very productive adults. The people in the village of Forcee, where they live, all take a part in looking after them and have accepted them as part of the community. Yura invited me to go fishing with him when we get back so I'm excited to see what we can catch.

Here's a picture of Yura after showing a man named Pavel how to use his new wheelchair.

Edna and Nadia in front of Yura's house.

This is Yura's Soviet motorcycle that he has been "Ukrainianized".

No comments: