Somewhere in the blur of our first month in Ukraine, Sasha got a call from PC headquarters in Kyiv that the PC Ukraine Director and a few other higher ups would be visiting Burty during our next Safety and Security sessions. You see, Burty had never been used by the PC before for training so the office staff was very curious to check it out. Also, headquarters had heard such great things about the unique individuals living there! But in reality the PC Director and other staff members routinely visit training groups.
When Mama Olea caught wind of this she went off the deep end. Similar to my real momma, she not only wanted her to house to look amazing but to have her table packed with food to offer up. Mama Olea is a very wise woman considering on the big day we packed over 20 people into our tiny classroom.
This particular day was just a regular Tuesday of language class but transformed itself into a recipe learning, guitar playing, cultural exchange night. The baking was planned but the fellowship wasn't. Excitement over glorious smells floating from the oven to each room of the house -the smells were so great they floated all over the farm to soften the chilled air - and learning to butter wash sweet biscuits came easy to the girls and I. Listening to Sasha, Drew, and Papa pick at a guitar was mesmerizing. Papa Volodia told us he hadn't played a guitar in 43 years but he successfully summed out several smooth chords. In that evening, we weren't separated by language or nationally or age, we were together among music and sugary scents. We were together.
The images below show a few glimpses of that sacred Tuesday night.
|Oh, let the giddiness begin.|
|Anna cutting her rolled up dough into a layered heart.|
|Butter washing the sweet heart buns.|
|Sasha working on his chords.|
|Drew being a booger.|
|Proving I can do more than just take a fancy photo.|
|Caitlin took to rolling dough quite naturally and perfected the art quickly.|
|Nonetheless, Mama Olea stepped in to take over and speed up the process.|
"Excuse me girlies. Enough playing around. I need to do some real work."
|After spreading the dough into a perfectly round, level circle, Mama covered it with her homemade raspberry jam.|
|Then she rolled all that up and pinched the dough closed. |
Later, it would bake up together into crispy magic with jam pouring out the edges.
|Check him out....|
I must credit Drew for putting on my apron with Sasha's 'dolla, dollar bill' slippers to brave a tiny kitchen packed with large personality women.
|Turns out, he fit right in.|
|It wouldn't be the last but this is the first photo of Mama Olea and I together.|
|Papa taking his turn on the guitar.|
It was obvious he had fun figuring out chords but gladly give the guitar back to Sasha.
"I play the accordion. I've always played that. I'll just keep playing that. You play this other thing." he said.