After months of planning and preparation, forty-seven volunteers from the U.S. traveled to Transnistria during two weeks last month to deliver 3,859 pairs of new winter boots and socks to orphans and impoverished children there. The first week of teams was able to enter the country and deliver shoes as planned, but the second week teams were prohibited from entering the disputed region by the local government due to anticipated demonstrations and the threat of potential violence in the area as a result of the presidential election.
Although disappointed, our staff and volunteers adjusted well to this unforeseeable turn of events. The volunteers who were disallowed entry into Transnistria worked instead with institutionalized orphans in neighboring Moldova, visiting orphanages and conducting dramas and playing with the children. The kids were thrilled to have visitors and some one-on-one attention. Our staff arranged for local church members in Transnistria to deliver the remaining boots that were unable to be delivered by the second week teams. These church members rose eagerly to the task, working throughout the next week after our teams had departed to deliver all of the remaining boots to Transnistrian children!
Although the boot distribution did not occur as planned, the end result was still accomplished, and CERI is grateful to the many donors who gave generously and sacrificially to provide orphans with new socks and winter boots for the cold months ahead.
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Director of Development