2018 - Semi-annual report

In 2019 Ukraine will hold parliamentary elections. Preparations are now already underway. Although attempts were made in the past to sway people with political or economic influence positively with gifts money, it now seems as if political pressure is being made

According to western estimates only 10% of Ukrainians stand behind the politics of "Chocolate King" President Poroshenko. From today’s perspective that does not speak for an election victory, if the people in Ukraine are not in favor of him. However I heard it wouldn’t make much difference if only Mr. Trump and Mrs. Merkel want him.

The controversial language law will probably be pushed through. All the churches are against it, including the Orthodox. And you can forget any support on this question by the EU. A person responsible for minority policy in the EU parliament asked for comment at a discussion in the Hungarian general consulate in the Transcarpathia regional capital of Uzhhorod/Ungvár and was quite astonished as to why the Hungarians are so much against the language law. She was surprised to hear that Hungarian is not a Slavic language at all and not even related to Ukrainian.

My introductory thoughts can only give small points of insight, but still make somewhat clear the realities of life for the people and their problems that they face on a daily basis and what they have to deal with.

As has always been the case, Ukraine is still a politically and economically unstable country, and a basic improvement in the people’s conditions is not in sight. Rather the opposite is the case. Output in the areas of education and health keep plummeting.

Some time ago a boy fell at a circus presentation in an unplanned appearance with a clown and broke his hand. Before getting treatment at a hospital, usually a shopping list for the pharmacy is issued. In this case for a bone fracture, x-ray film, plaster and binding material had to be obtained. After the doctors and the water bill were paid, then the treatment could get underway. Health insurance in Ukraine is a traditional mandatory insurance from the Soviet era, but in practice is as good as meaningless.

In the hospital in the county seat of Berehovo/Beregszász the tuberculosis ward was recently closed. TB patients must now take public transportation to travel about 42 miles (70 km) away to the regional capital.

Ukraine is still worlds away from a timely medicinal treatment, but in the area of gender questions they want to be in the forefront. In April the noteworthy Istanbul convention was not yet in force in Ukraine, but even then as far as the government was concerned, the new kindergarten in Vári built with Hungarian money could only get permission to operate if one day a week the children were trained in gender reverse role playing.

Undeterred from all this we continue to help as best we can. Keep reading for more about that.


Relief convoys

At the present time the third transport with relief goods is set to be en route to Transcarpathia. We finally succeeded in obtaining the hospital beds that we arranged for. Adult diapers, medications, dental material, bicycles, a multifunction office machine (printer, scanner, fax) as well as firefighter clothing and equipment, among other things, were on the bill of lading.

the first beds

On a personal note

Thank God Pastor Sándor Zán has recovered well from his serious health problems and the several days‘ stay in the hospital that came with it.

On the occasion of the Hungarian national holiday in March in the parliament building in Budapest he was awarded the Center Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit by Hungarian President Áder. We are thrilled about this and offer our sincere congratulations.

We wish for God’s blessing on József Gáti as he continues the journey of his life following his confirmation in May. We recall that doctors did not prophesy a long life for him after his birth. "And yet God has a plan for him," says his mother in a video about her disabled son. József attends school there, which is itself absolutely remarkable. We will see what God still plans for him and will contine to accompany him as an organization.


Confirmation of József Gáti

Projects and activities we support

As often happens whenever our plans have anything to do with government authorities or offices in Ukraine, the purchase of a house for a poor family has already been dragging on since 2016. After a long time of promising and requests for patience, now finally there is some movement in the matter. The date for the auction set for the end of May was indeed canceled and the new date for the end of June was postponed again. But now it seems to be moving forward. After the purchase, the construction should begin as soon as possible. We want to continue to support that. Please send donations for this project under the key-word: House

We help the fire department in Dercen on a regular basis, especialy with equipment and clothing, but also financially.
This spring, with Pastor Péter Szeghljánik as intermediary, a group of Swiss firefighters was in Dercen where they conducted a training course. Just before they left from there they visited the village fire department of Vári. Everything was shown to them that was available, a firefighting vehicle of a Soviet model type from the 1950s with almost no equipment and a firefighter with a mobile telephone (with no connection to the local phone network!), who was responsible for a total of 8 villages. The Swiss visitors were speechless and are convinced that further assistance was necessary, and then went home.

Csepel fire truck on duty

Only a few days later there was actually a fire in Vári, which was responded to by the fire department in Dercen. Unfortunately the nearly 30-year-old fire truck, a Csepel model, had some transmission damage on the return trip and had to be towed. Initial estimates came to about €1000 ($1100) for spare parts and repairs. That is catastrophic for the firefighting team, as they already pay for their fuel themselves every time they are on duty. Any support for such items by the Ukrainian government has been non-existent for a few years now. We quickly promised help without involving the bureaucracy, for it is enormously important that the "main fire truck" be made ready for duty again.
Please send donations with the key-word: Fire department.

On my visit in April to Transcarpathia, there was a moment when a young man named Márk was introduced to me. I already had a sneaking suspicion about him, for about 15 years ago we as an organization helped finance several operations for a young boy with fingers that had fused together since birth to help correct his condition. That boy’s name was Márk. It turned out to be the same Márk. Evidently everything was fine now. That makes us very happy.

During my stay in Transcarpathia, it was mandatory for me to visit the "Forget-me-not" rehab center in Vári. Unfortunately the children were not there that day. The theater in
Beregszász/Berehovo had a special production for handicapped children. To a certain extent we were represented by Márton, the youngest son of Pastor Sándor Zán, who used the ball pit. As you can see, he had a lot of fun with it.


 Márton in the ball pit    Apple orchard


Currently work is ongoing with the addition of the second large treatment room on the upper story of the main building. It should be ready by the end of summer. But it will only see regular usage after an elevator is installed. Meanwhile it is clear that a lift is to be added to the structure. It is also clear how much money it will cost. What is still unclear is how it will be paid. Discussions are proceeding at the moment. The apple trees planted last year on "our" plantation survived the winter alright.


The new sign ... should replace the old one


In the small carpentry workshop I also discovered a new sign for "Nefelejcs" ("Forget-me-not"), that is to replace the one standing for a few years, looking more like something temporary out front at the street. If you would like to support our work in the "Forget-me-not" rehab center, please wire it with key-word: Handicapped

Let me express my sincere thanks at this time for all those who have donated so far! Our help is possioble only with your gifts.

Since spring the topic of data protection is on "almost" every tongue. We assure you that we will continue to treat your personal data responsibly. Please note the corresponding information on our internet site if you are interested.

I would like to mention the possibility for young people to spend a "Diaconal Year Abroad" as volunteers with the Reformed Church of Transcarpathia. There is frequently a search for volunteers, since Ukraine is not automatically among the preferred destinations for young people. Anyone interested should contact the chairman for further information.

And so for today we send our best wishes from Lengenfeld and wish you a pleasant summer and holiday time and good recreation. God’s blessings be with you!