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Day 1

Hi from Russia.  Our trip to Ribnoe was a smooth if somewhat long one.  We left San Francisco on time and arrived in Frankfurt early on our first leg of the flight.  We made it into Moscow on time and met the last member of our team without a hitch.  This year the weather is exceptionally cold and it was minus 4 degrees F when we landed.  All of our supplies and gifts arrived unharmed with no lost baggage. 

We were met at the airport by Masha and Natasha from Children’s Hope Chest.  They escorted us to our hotel and got us checked in.  It was about 9 pm Moscow time on Thursday, so most team members went straight to bed after traveling for about 21 hours. 

Friday morning the team met for breakfast at the hotel’s breakfast buffet, where some team members got there first look at Russian cuisine.  Everyone found something new to try. 

After breakfast, we were met by our Children’s Hope Chest escort, Anya Esina who will stay with us throughout the remainder of the trip.  We left our hotel by van and stopped at a Russian hyper market to purchase some additional supplies.  A hyper market is the Russian equivalent of a Walmart.  We then took the van to Ryazan and visited a building that Children’s Hope Chest hopes to purchase to support their mission for graduates of orphanages.  The plan is to provide a variety of services and help for orphans who no longer can depend on the orphanage system for help.  This is important as many orphans leave the orphanage at 16 years of age.  Children’s Hope Chest is still raising funds in the hopes of making the building a reality. 

Finally, about 6 pm on Friday we arrived at the orphanage and said hello to many old and new friends.  The kids greeted us with joy and rushed to help bring our 19 heavy bags into the orphanage.  We got squared away quickly, and had dinner with a few members of the orphanage staff.  After dinner, we unpacked our supplies and gifts and got organized for the coming days. 

We are grateful for an uneventful and smooth trip and especially for the hospitality of our Russian hosts.