This month was probably the most amazing meeting we have ever had.
It was the day of the handover of all the Chernobyl knits for this year. We sit round a large table made up of 2 large and 2 small pushed together, and this table was absolutely full! On top of this we handed over 12 quilts made by our sister stitching group at Ailsworth. Because in the past we have always taken the items to Helpston, this is the first time the girls have had a chance to see everything together, and I think everyone was as gobsmacked as Monica and I were. Certainly the two of us were still recovering two days later.
Morag and Cecilia from Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (FOCC) Helpston came to talk to us about the charity and collect everything. I don’t think either of them could quite believe it. And when all their things had been packed away and the other things were handed in, they were amazed at just how much we manage to achieve.
As for hearing about the charity, I have heard both Morag and Cecilia before and I never cease to be horrified by the extent of the need. And there is no let-up. It will be another twenty-four thousand years before the area is clear of contamination, so the need is permanent. Add in winter temperatures of -30, and extreme poverty, with all the additional health problems that these involve, then you get a tiny idea of the scale of the problem. Food, milk and even water are all contaminated.
We get so used to being able to eat what we like, when we like, it is hard to imagine having to survive the winter living on preserved food, mainly pickled, together with whatever root vegetables can be stored under the floorboards.
We know the families really appreciate the warm jumpers we send over, and because we make them a bit longer than children here would have, it does help to keep them a bit warmer.
Next month we are hoping to have someone from the Linus project coming to speak, and the following month (help, July) we should have the nurses from Hinchingbrooke to collect all the twiddlemuffs and baby clothes.
A bigger Thank You than ever this month, just because we have learned just how desperate some need is.