Portsmouth/Hayling Link  

Visit to Belarus April 2010

In April of 2010, three of our Link members Marian (Chair Person), Stacy (Host Coordinator) and Natalie (Publicity Coordinator) wer fortunate to travel to Minsk in Belarus.

The aim of the visit was to experience the way in which the Children that visit th UK live and understand the their way of life, both Marian and Stacy had been to Belarus before but this was Natalies first visit. They were lucky enoght to visit some of the children who visited the Portsmouth Link in previous years.

The following pictures show a snap shot of the visit and shows the families that they meet and their very welcoming hospitality.


 Marian and Natalie at the Airport in Gatwick awaiting departure.



Travelling light was was not an option, Marian, Stacy and Natalie had gifts for all the families which all needed sorting out.



This was the view from the hotel window in Minsk which we stayed in before we travelled to the area that the children lived in.

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Katya and Kjusha visited Portsmuth in 2008 from Brest, Katya had made Natalie a crown as a present.  We also met Kjusha's new baby cousin Polyene.

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           Marian at Katya's school     -        We met Katya's Mum at the the school    -    When we visited the school was closed but we left some        

                                                                                                                                                                             messages for the children when the returned. 


Marian and Stacy were trying out the sports grounds


Kjusha lives with her extended family including Gradma, Grandpa, Mum, Dad, Aunt , Uncle and Cousin.Above ie the two bedroomed apartment that Kjusha's family have been saving for for many years, they are hoping to mave in very soon.

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We the went and met Katya's cow!


We had to travel to the middle of no where, down dirt tracks with big pot holes, we eventually found two boys that were hosted by one of our hist families in a previous year. 


This is Vlad with his family


And this is Max with his family.

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Brest Memorial Park

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We met up with Kirrili and his Dad as well as Yuri in Memorial Park, both boys had been hosted by Marian.


Kirril lives with his Father and Grandmother, the following day Kirril's dad showed us to Yuris apartment.

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Belarusian hospitality - Soup and Tequila !  but for breakfast!

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Yuri is a child that Marian hosted a few years ago. He lives on the top floor of this block of flats.


 We met up with Dasha who visited a few years ago, with Derek Kent a previous Link member.  Derek has kept in touch so we took the opportunity to meet her with her Mum and Grandfather. They invited us to have a BBQ with them.

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The two photo are Russian danders at the theatre in Minsk.


Martha visited Portsmouth a few years ago and Stacy was her host, her cousins had travelled from the next village to meet us. When we arrived at the village all of the children were waiting for us to arrive at the village entrance.

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Marghenita was also hosted by Stacy during their first year, Marghenita was joined by her family and her brother Nikiti, who hopes to come to England one day soon.

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We supported this school for several years, and we bumped in to two boys who came to Portsmouth last year.  The children were playing table tennis, which we raised the money for the table.  They have also gone on to win some competitions. Marian is with Oleg who she hosted in her first year.

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This is a school that we fundraise for, Marian met the Headmaster, we were also joined byone of the teachers and our translator Liudmila.

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This is the outside of the school , Liudmila first introduced us in 2006, where we raised funds to provide computers for the school.

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This is the local kindergarten. The children all have a nap in the afternoons.

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The classroom and sleeping area is all in one room. The drawers are pulled out to be used as beds.

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These are more pictures from the kindergarten and the music area.

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We met up with Oleg's family, and his pet Hamster.  Oleg's father came home in his tractor especially to see us.  

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Oleg's sister Polyena was playing a musical instrument for us, and one of the tunes was "Bobby Shafto" so we all had a sing along.


Oleg with his cat,  you can see on the table behind are plants that will provide the family with food during the winter months. Everyone frows foog in bottles and jars for the winter, even if they live in the multi story flats.

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Oleg's Grandmother had travelled from another village to meet with us.  Polyena would like to visit England.

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Vadin and his family who Marian hosted in her first year.   Stacy hosted Aliano in 2007, we were welcomed by her mum who had made us a wonderful meal.

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Aliano and her mum outside of their flat.


 Stacy hosted Masha in 2006, we also met her brother Dima. 

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This is another Masha who visited Portsmouth in 2007, and the flat that they live in. 


To get to the market everone has to cross the railway lines.

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At the market you could but live chics and live fish.  Also in the Blue van they were making a vegetable salad, which was made by hand straight from the van.


Our translator for our visit was Liumila and we had chance to meet her mum. 


Marian hosted both Tim and Aleasha in 2009.

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We visiited Tim�s house and met his family, Tim's father was a Fireman who was involed directly with the Chernobyl Disaster in 1986.


Olia ( on the right) visited Portsmouth in 2009, we gat to meet her foster family and joined in with the "Birdie Song"

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Olia�s family did a talent show for us, they them opened their gifts.


Olia is sitting on her bed, as you can see it is on the floor!

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Natasha visited Portsmouth in 2009 and was hosted by Stacy,  Lisa also visited Portsmouth Link in 2009,  she had travelled to meet with us.

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 Natasha lives in Army quarters on an Army Camp, She was also determined that we had to find a Soldier to have her photo taken with.



The visit was an humbling experience and it gave us all an insight in to the day to day life of some of the children that we have been fortunate to host over the last few years.