Monday, July 9, 2007

Productivity, Provision, and Providence

These three words have never sounded so good to me as they have today. Each has given me so much to be grateful for and a renewed sense of excitement about the five weeks I have remaining here. As I mentioned in my last blog, my return from the children's camp brought on a cascade of projects that will keep my remaining time filled and productive. Today has brought more insight about the design and schedule of these projects. I am, as ever, thrilled to be encorporated into the work of Nadezhda - and all the more so as I see the projects develop and take effect. Across the next week, I will be developing and refining an updated Social Performance Indicators Survey. This survey will be used to guage the impact of Nadezhda's work on various aspects of clients' lives - from professional to personal to spiritual. Maxym has truly entrusted me with the development of the survey and has taken to heart my suggestions about the procedures of the survey and the use of the information. Next week, I will be working with an interpreter to pilot the survey with clients throughout Zaporozhye and potentially another city in the region. For you public policy students - that survey methodology class has truly come in useful!

The following week, I will turn to a second survey project as I work with the families of children who attended the camp I worked with last week. The intent is to guage the impact of the camp on children's and families' lives, to learn of their personal responses, and to determine ways to improve/enhance this connection between the programs and ministries in the future. I feel fortunate to be working on this second survey as well - it truly connects all of the work I have been doing here.

For the final two weeks of my time, Travis and I will be working with children's camps in Zaporozhye and Kyiv as well as conducting client interviews throughout Zaporozhye. I feel like Nadezhda/HOPE has truly considered my hopes and 'goals' throughout the entirety of this internship. They have given me the opportunity to conduct work that is cohesive but that still crosses the partnership between Nadezhda (HOPE Ukraine/International) and Moybutna (Tomorrow Clubs). And they have maintained a cross between the two for the time Travis is here as well. This truly gives us the opportunity to work in both areas we have long had an interest in - poverty and children.

Speaking of Travis's arrival! I have to admit that while we knew our time apart would be difficult this summer (9.5 weeks!), it has been altogether different to actually be in the center of it. I've mentioned before that as my time here as passed, I have felt more and more torn between my eagerness for his arrival and my hesitation for the time to arrive when I leave to return to the states. I've LOVED being here but wanted him to arrive sooner and have the chance to be here longer. This morning, that was provided for! We found a flight that brings him to Ukraine a day sooner. It will not require him to miss any additional work, nor does it cost a single frequent flyer mile or dime to get him here on the flight! Even the addition of one more day sends me soaring!! And as if that were not enough! We found out this morning (for me)/yesterday (for Travis since I am 8 hours ahead) that two members from our church in Brooklyn Park will be in Ukraine across the two weeks Travis will be here. We're unsure as to all the details, but this may very well provide an opportunity to do additional work while we are here - and with friends from home!! It has been amazing to me to learn of all the connections with friends from home and my work here this summer - it is almost to a point where I am no longer surprised when I get an email that someone is connected/connecting with HOPE International, that someone is connected with someone/somewhere I know here, or that someone is headed HERE yet this summer! But that certainly does not detract from how excited I get each time!

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