From January 24th to 29th 2008 a group of our staff and volunteers was visiting Beslan. We clowned at an orphanage in Beslan and painted a wall at an orphanage in Vladikavkaz, had a training with children rom Beslan school # 1, who were at our summer camp last year.

And of course we visited the old school and the Memorial Cemetery.

Thanks to CAF for financial support of the trip, to S7 airlines for free plane tickets, to all the people who received us in Osetia like welcome guests, especially the headmaster Ludmila Dzutseva, schoolmasters Nadezhda Guriyeva and Albina Kaziyeva, the friend of ours Vissarion Aseyev.

Maria Yeliseyeva:

This is my third visit to Beslan. It felt like going home. It was an absolutely new level of relationship with people we have already known, as if seeing old friends who take care of you all the time. From the very beginning Vissarion took responsibility for our visit and it was so pleasant to be in safe keeping.

We had very good time with children. I worried how they wouldperceive our idea, and I liked the way they were listening what they could do for our orphans. Wereachedunderstanding. They all have chosen what they wanted to do, nobody refused the idea. Hopefully, they will become our volunteers in future.

It was agonizing to live through all the feelings again, you can’t get used to it. The same way you can’t get used to the death of people.

When you think of the number of children died here, you can’t help but to feel the terrible unfairness of the life. It was very painful to visit the cemetery again. For me personally, this is one of the most dreadful places I have ever seen. It is surrealistic, terribly unreal. You walk around and can’t believe that something like that could have really happened. At the same time there are alive real people there that have been mourning for their dead relatives for three years. This time we met there a woman by the grave of her daughter who was a teacher. She was weeping. When I passed her I said my greetings. Though in tears, she thanked me for remembering their children. For our boys and girls this is a precious experience and an opportunity to be helpful. They have never felt such deep emotions before. It was their first visit to Beslan when they had experienced it. Now their grief became deeper, they are growing spiritually here. 

Beslan became a vital part of our life, it’s impossible to refect it. It is especially important now when nearly all groups who had helped here left thinking that they’ve helped sufficiently and Beslan people have to survive on their own. How can they survive if they still think of themselves as victims? They will become better when they get rid of this feeling. That is why we try to give to these children the opportunity to help our boarding school pupils. I see a great hope in it. Probably, they will never forget this terrible experience, but we can help them somehow. And I am glad that we do it.