Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Letter from Robert Gamble "This Child Here"

Dear Friends,

Certainly the best thing to happen for me this month was the visit of my longtime friend, Dave Cameron, the pastor of the Nellysford Presbyterian Church in Nellysford, VA. He came for a week, rode in the street patrol, wandered the streets with me searching for kids, taught a seminar on pastoral care for pastors and deacons, and met all these wonderful people I work with. So these are photos of us on the streets and posing with Ann who was my assistant until I lost her to a dissertation she is writing for university.

On one particular street patrol we searched an abandoned hospital sanitorium, now filled with artwork on the walls. That’s Julia, the Public Relations Director for The Way Home walking past the wall that says “survivors will be shot again.”

Street patrol isn’t all grim news. We do cut up in the van and laugh.

Alessander came from Italy, a photographer who has travelled the world. This first shot was taken with my camera by a street kid riding in the van. In the second, I photographed Alessander he made his way through an abandoned building where we found Sasha, the boy with one leg. That evening, Sasha came to live with us at The Way Home; I have since teamed up with Ms. Odessa who has a personal charity funded by several business. Together we are buying Sasha a new prosthesis, the cost, about $1000. I will pay half from This Child Here.

Three Belgians came as volunteers in April, Yves ( pronounced Yeevs), Linku and Levi. I know I am not spelling those names correctly. Yves brings people every year in march-april to cook meals, play with kids and have all kinds of adventures. They are all Christians from the same Evangelical church in Beligum—they bring so much life to our work here.

Christi Anne Hofland is a Fullbright Scholar, here to do a program of Art therapy called Monart. I met her through Audrey Ball, watched her program at a local children’s hospital and invited her to The Way Home. I am hoping to use this program in the fall.

In the circle of chairs formed for Alla’s small group each week, I took this picture of Andre. This is a group where kids talk about issues of life the shelter, school, friendships, drugs, running away to the streets, essentially, whatever.

Last weekend for the May Day celebration, we had a picnic. I don’t know why I decided to shoot in black and white, but you can see kids having fun. A girl named Sasha took this shot of me trying to wipe my mouth.

What follows next are photos from a benefit concert in Sienna, Italy for This Child Here. Claudio Corbelli organized this conference. His band played and photos from the exhibition last November were hung to raise awareness of the issue of street kids. The photographs were mine and those of Aleksandra Zhavoronkova, who lives in Rome. They raised 2,000 euroes which will be used to send children to camp.

The last picture is of Sveta whom I had not seen for over a year. I found her under this building.

Next sunday I preach in a local church where I have been attending. It will be my first time to give a sermon in Odessa.

Grace and peace,
Robert Gamble

Robert Gamble's photos at the CPC Photo Gallery.

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