From September 15th to 17th, sixteen Ukrainian orphans and children from the Berezhany, Nove Selo and Terebovlia state-run orphanage boarding schools visited the Carpathian Mountains for the first time. Together with Orphans’ Future volunteers Iryna Vakaliuk, Luiba Perozhak, Ruslan Menkiv and Volodymyr Yavorskyy (who are also orphanage graduates), the children had the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Western Ukraine during this late summer weekend. The trip was made possible thanks to financial support from the Real Men Real Stylå and the VIKI-Tour travel company from Ternopil.
Over these three days, the children learned about unique local traditions, the richness of nature and the beauty of the Ukrainian Carpathian area.
On the first day, they visited a wild zoo in town of Yaremche, and had an opportunity to pet and feed the animals there. They also went to the "Park-Museum of the Carpathians in Miniature”, a unique place in which a miniature train travels through a replica of the Carpathians. The mountain spring water there was very delicious, everyone liked to drink and wash their face with it! The children were delighted with the beauty and fresh air in the Carpathian Mountains.
On the second day of the trip, the children hiked all the way to the top of one of the highest mountains in the area, called Khomyak (Hamster) which is 1,542 meters (about 5,000 feet) above sea level. After reaching the mountain peak, the youth were filled with emotions and hunger! The lunch that day was served in a beautiful Carpathian valley. After hiking and eating, the children visited the biggest souvenir market in Yablunytsya village. Tired but happy, everyone returned to the hotel for the evening.
The third day brought many interesting moments to the children. They visited the Trufanets waterfall (the highest natural waterfall in Transcarpathia), then drank mineral water in the village of Kvasy, which is known for its silver. The children also admired the view of Goverla Mountains (the highest mountain in the Carpathians) from the Yablunytsky Pass. At the next stop, children were fascinated by the Inverted House at the Polyanytsya village. Here, everyone had a photo taken at the house, where all the things inside were turned upside down. The kids liked to ride the Ropeway at the famous Bukovel recreation area, and ate delicious wild Carpathian blackberries. The beauty of Bukovel cannot be described in words! The children also visited the Probiy waterfall on the Prut River, and visited the largest souvenir market in Yaremche. At the end of the excursion, the children enjoyed dinner at a local wood fired pizzeria.
Here are some quotes from orphan children after the Carpathian excursion:
"Thank you to all of the organizers for giving us an opportunity to see a heated lake and ride a Ropeway in Bukovel"- Nastya, Grade 10
"I liked seeing the "Khomyak" mountain for the first time, and want to climb other mountains. I also liked the museum in miniatures" - Natalia, Grade 9
"I thank you for taking us on an excursion to the Carpathians. I liked the natural mineral water that I drank in the village of Kvasy and I liked the views and the mountains very much"- Vlad, Grade 10
"I liked going up on the Khomyak Mountain. You made my weekend. You made my dream to go to the Carpathians come true. I also dream to go to America" - Vitalik, Grade 9
"I enjoyed visiting the health-improving water spring in the Carpathians and seeing the picturesque mountains and mountain valleys. Thank you" - Pavlo, Grade 11
"Many thanks to volunteers of the foundation who organized a meaningful and interesting weekend in the Carpathians for us. Especially I remember the mountain Khomyak, a view from the hotel, a market, a mini-museum in the open air, waterfalls, and mineral springs. And also the recreation complex Bukovel which I visited for the first time" - Vasyl, Grade 11
The trip to the Carpathian Mountains was covered by local TV.
The Orphans’ Future team and our children would like to thank Real Men Real Style and Viki-Tour for sponsoring a tremendous outing in the Carpathians. We would also like to thank Tour Guide Mr. Oleg Derek for coordinating an educational and very memorable excursion for our children. Your generosity is appreciated!