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Ruben Gallego

It was, certainly, not the very first trip to Rybinsk in general, somewhere near the fifth or the sixth. But before I went to Rybinsk on the affairs, once I’ve taken Dr. Aleks with me. Actually children's home, which was the most requiring, I have found by the phone. It was shortly before the New Year. Feeling the approach of the next time boundary, I began to remind myself, that I SHOULD. The matter is that I have promised to myself, that I shall do it.


I do not love such pathos as it usually sounds: "has promised", "has sworn" etc. But, nevertheless, approximately to Christmas holidays (December, 23-25) I began to finger myself, that the pier, it is time.

For New Year I wanted to go to Africa, to my family, in Addis-Abeba. As it takes not one day, it was necessary to settle accounts with duties. And, in one fine day, exact date I cannot name (approximately December, 23-26 1998) I have taken myself in hands, have set for the phone and started calling all children's homes of Rybinsk.


The first call has fallen to 6-th children’s home. At that time it did not start to function yet, it was still altered from a kindergarten. The equipment for easting establishment was necessary there. The price of a question just was within the framework of my opportunities. It is all due to crisis. In dollars all has fallen in price in 4 times:-))). Despite of it, I have sensibly judged that to equip not-opened children's home is almost to build it, and such problem is a prerogative of the state.


Communicating with the director of another (43-rd) children’s home, I also have not found criticality in a situation. The declared needs consisted in slippers, fruits etc. If, contrary to my assumptions, it was the most poor children’s home, I would have helped it. But the initial information (impression from city of Rybinsk and an epicritic situation in the country) forced to expect more serious problems. As has proved to be true on the third bell.

I have got on Nina Mihajlovna Kornyushkina, the director of 72-nd children’s home. At that moment the situation was those, that children had practically nothing to eat. Because of crisis there were debts on payment of food stuffs, and the machine sent behind them on food base, has returned empty. I did not expect this. To render food aid was not included in my plans, because this kind of the help cannot be supervised. The foodstuffs can be easily resold, and, at the same time, it is impossible to check up, where it is cunning - in the children’s home or in other place. The meal should be bought by the state.


Despite of these reasons, I made an exception of the rule and transferred some sum (through familiar Rybinsk guys) to feed these children. Certainly, it is impossible to feed 85 children all time, but for week in a crisis situation, probably, has sufficed. I then have told the director I do not  mean  to victual them, and that I am interested more with their needs for the consumer goods. As well as it was supposed, the greatest need was in winter footwear.

Somewhere about a month after, when I have returned from Africa, I has contacted Nina Mihajlovna, and has obtained the data on the sizes. All would turn out faster, if I had a transport. And in this case I persuaded doctor Aleks to bring to me boxes with footwear from the market in Luzhniki  within two weeks. The matter is that it was very uneasy, transportation on a taxi would cost the significant sum on which it would be possible to buy some pairs footwear superfluously.

Having decided to not wait when my comrade will ripen, I have made all itself. It was  difficult enough – 7 very big boxes with winter footwear. And till today the process of purchases, transportations and warehousings is the most toilful and unpleasant part of our activity.


I assumed to carry all this to Rybinsk by train. There was an arrangement, that there the bus from the children’s home will meet me. Not to order any car, which would take me to the station, I addressed for the help to Aleks. Except for transport,  his help was necessary for me at  the process of loading into the car. This time he turned to be free, and has come to my home. I should tell, that in those times Aleks did not “played enough” on the acquired shortly before crisis "Jetta" and consequently it was rather easy to line him on any adventure such as trip to Rybinsk on winter road, moreover at night (by the way to drive in night is his hobby as I have understood. Being the excited with the show of a stack of shoe boxes in my flat, Aleks has unexpectedly offered me to take all this not to station as it was planned, but direct up to children's home. I (only for decency) said “no”, quickly having given myself to persuade (I hate to go by rail with a cargo within loading range). More shortly, we shook hands, Leha (Aleks) has informed his relatives, that we go. We had densely supper, have made the enormous thermos of tea with a lemon, have cut sandwiches, have loaded a maximum quantity of boxes in the machine and have set out.

Aleks had a camera with him, so he fixed all that was possible, on the road. That was it somewhere about February, 14 - 15, 1999, in the evening, about 21 - 22 hours. I remember rather well (probably also because it was photographed on the chamber) a stop somewhere on a way, on wood road. In the street is a frost near 20 - 25 (minus), terribly dark. All is dear in snow. A wood spreads around. We have stopped to drink some tea and to have a bite. On automobile hours was 1.30 AM.

While standing no machine past. And in general, at this time I something do not remember machines - very much late for such trips. The uttermost romanticism! To me, I do not know why, the idea on Great Domestic War came: when our warriors in the same frost huddled in dugouts, frosted in entrenchments.

I say to Aleks: " Can you imagine, we sit here with in the warm car, we drink tea with a lemon, we chew sandwiches, just in case, if something happens, we have the warm clothes, footwear, we shall not be gone, and what to ours was? A frost under thirty, clothes - what was given, the covered with hoarfrost rifle, a stomach reduces for famine. Neither to wash, nor to change clothes, and so - day after day, month after one month, and to what they were glad – to be not killed yet. Interestingly, when they laid down to sleep, were they able to take the boots off? "

By the way, I drived as much as I wanted to - despite of such weather conditions. That was especially joyful when the trunks which Aleks did not want to change for a long time erased up to a cord. But, despite of it, bad ideas did not come to my head. Though, if it is fair, in the certain situations the machine was practically unguided. In Rybinsk Aleks nearly crushed on the turn - twists a rudder to the left, and the machine continues the rectilinear movement:-))).

I shall be repeated, that time I did not take it as a tragedy - there was no that negative experience of crushes acquired later at driving by columns. The question of speed, naturally, not stood, 60 km / h, no more. No need to be in a hurry.

We arrived in the children’s home at 5 AM. We were met, put to bed to sleep in isolator. Here already Aleks has punched. He speaks with me, looking at the not adult size of a bed: " German, imagine, if the child is ill, he is put here, and he lays here - small, lonely ". Well, I did not stayed in duty, in a unison to him: " even when the domestic child is ill, that is a tragedy even if it is a simple cold - it is a pity, though there are medicines, and parent care, and here - who will stroke him on the head, if he has high temperature? " We were so touched, that just nearly cried.  Despair.

I sit now, I write it, I recollect all - really, very sad. Then 72-nd children’s home was not such safe as now, and kiddies were more younger almost for three years (2,8). The seventh group, now absolutely grown-up girls that time were the youngest, and all of them were still children. And the eighth – just a kindergarten. They were not able to read. It was necessary to see, how they were delighted to have footwear. Especially girls of 7-th group. I distributed the footwear, and Aleks fixed it on the video. To tell the truth, he hesitated to fix, therefore, nearly nothing to look now.

Very characteristic staff - someone from the girls that surrounded a box with footwear. It was so touchingly - she presses hands to a breast... Kiddies looked narrowly at us, not knowing how to react, I was afraid to be deeply touched, tried to keep a distance. To 1 PM  we have coped, everything was distributed, we have communicated with kids, and have gone to a way back. We arrive to Moscow when it darkened.

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