The card game Uno is fast becoming a favorite over at the orphanage down the street. After we tackle the English homework, we play cards. Lydia loves to help too, and she even has helped with the homework by listening to the kids read their texts.
I (Diana) brought Uno because most Russians already know it, and to play “in English” requires colors and numbers, but not much more. I figured that Uno would hold their attention for only a couple of sessions. But, as in so many situations with these orphans, I was wrong. Not only do they request Uno each week, but we also end up talking about more personal issues as the game progresses.
The boys’ group made a rule that Lydia and I will play in Russian, and they will play in English. I countered with a rule that if any of them speak in Russian, they must take a card for every Russian word uttered. Little English knowledge + no Russian rule = very quiet room. We laugh about that equation. My card shuffling techniques bumped me up the respect ladder a rung or two as well. I just might be training casino dealers now!
Andrei continues to open up about his background and current interests. He’s curious about me too. Consequently, I know him the best of the boys. He may be only one in that group that wants to relate, but Uno is a big number to God.
Masha has acted more somber and depressed in the past few weeks. She hangs around after her session and seems to want to talk more. The kids are on fall break next week, and orphans with a family member will leave for a few days. Masha has nobody. I asked if she wanted me to come back next week just to hang out. She readily agreed. Uno.
Natasha, the breakthrough from a few weeks ago, continues to try to speak English, and our trust is building. She also will not go to any relatives next week, and I plan to meet with her as well. Uno.
The director has given us permission, for the first time, to actually take Masha and Natasha out for a while, so we are excited to see how God will work when we have more time with them outside the home.
Uno at a time.