Report and Appreciation from Kitezh

The participants in the Youth Exchange currently underway in Kitezh, Russia, recently sent us this report and appreciation of the donors who helped make their trip possible.

So far the experience here has been extremely eye opening for our group. The lack of technology and focus instead on the basics of life has been beneficial for our group, as our society has become so focused on technology. We have had to rely more on personal contact instead of communicating through devices. It has been nice to fully focus on our experiences and what is going on in the group without being distracted by the things going on at home.

For us coming here it has been nice to see how people really live as a community, sort of like one big family, as opposed to our more individualistic culture of families living near each other but still alone. Everyone here is really a family and it can be seen in the way they work together to make the meals, take care of the land, build houses, raise the children. This is a very different perspective than what we are used to. It is interesting as this community is much like our intern group and feel at The Haven, more like a family.

The way they raise their children is also a contrast to what we do at home. The children here are much less coddled and are left to their own means to get by with support from the adults. We had to have one of the leaders here (the English teacher) come and talk to us to make sure we don’t coddle the children, and allow them to be challenged. There was an incident where a child had fallen and some of us had gone towards the child to help them, and we were stopped by the foster mother and explained that we should let them work through their challenges themselves. This has been difficult for us but it has made us realize how much we coddle and hover over children in our society. This way of thinking is very similar to the way we have been trained at The Haven, in the sense that we are taught to use the support network we have to help us grow but not rely on them to hold us up.

We are so thankful that we have had this opportunity and we could not have done this without the financial help and support from others. This has truly been a life changing experience for us.

This has not only been a great experience for us but we have brought a lot to offer to the people at Kitezh as well. Not simply teaching them English, we have been able to teach them such things as conflict models, the maxims of communication, conflict styles and of course our KITS program.

Once again, thank you from everyone here. This has really been a great opportunity for all of us.

The KITS and Kitezh Exchange participants.

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