Day at the "Revival" Centre

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Chernihiv, Ukraine
Today is the day before the big 20 year celebration of the Revival Centre. This is the first time in seven years that I've been here and ten for Bev. It seems like yesterday that we were here. We used to come here about once a year, but my work conditions have changed and it is not possible now.  

It was a wonderful day catching up to see what progress there has been since we were here last . Dr. Pasichnyk’s dream of a rehabilitation center for children is being more than fulfilled. He is 78 years old now and strong as ever. He has had a vision of building a place that would be conducive to treat children with autism, cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome, mobility, hearing, speech issues and more. His theory has been to build a place that makes children feel comfortable and loved as they are being treated. He has built an environment of peace and nature including garden therapy to help children feel closer to nature. There are also outlets for art, music and hippo (rocking horse) therapy. He has a dental office in the facility because most of the children need dental treatment and he wants them to be treated on site. He does not want to have a hospital feel.

There are 160 workers here of all sorts. He expects all to have dedication to the environment that he has. He wants things done his way now. And, the fruits show themselves in the wonderful results. The government has taken notice and has been giving support, grants for new construction and subsidy for patient care . He has built overnight staying facilities for children as well as their parents. He has even built a hospice to help those who cannot be helped further to be more comfortable and loved. We admire so much of what he’s done and stand in awe of his work.

Dr. Pasichynk came by at 10 am and we toured our beloved "Revival" Centre for Rehabilitation Centre. It has become a model and considered the best place for treating children in all of Ukraine. People come from all over, including internationally to see what he’s done.

He provides an entire scope of various treatments and supplemental services. He has picked up on what he’s seen in his travels around the world to improve his center, including the two visits to the United States sponsored by LifeNets. In the United States he saw how important it was to provide a cheery environment from some of the children’s hospitals he visited. Even seeing how mowed lawns added to order and natural cheer is replicated here . In Chernihev you do do not see mowed lawns. What you see is tall grass untrimmed. At the Center, the grass is mowed and looks neat and makes you feel just plain good

Several people took us around, including the vice-director of the Centre Svetlana, who is a competent and able woman with the same mission as Dr. P. Also, we were taken around by Dr. P’s wife Natalia Zenchenko who proudly showed us all the various parts of the hospitals including the new additions since our last visit.

We were pleased to see the two areas that LifeNets sponsored. One is the Choreography Hall where children undergo dance therapy. That was a LifeNets sponsored project back more than ten years ago. The other is “Beverly Hall” for physical therapy and some massage. It was Beverly Kubik who led the drive to have this place built and it was named in her honor.
There is an emphasis on male workers with children. Some children come from homes without a father or masculine influence and this is important for a child's development . Twenty-five of the staff are male therapists. So many subtleties of total treatment not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically is thought through. Dr. P. began his work with Chernobyl children. The location where we are now is 30 miles due east of Chernobyl and he treated the first victim children after the April 26, 1986 nuclear disaster.

Dr. P lives modestly. His salary is $300 a month. Most workers at the Center make about one third of that. My point to reveal this is to show the kind of conditions that the people live in. Inflation in Ukraine is rampant because of the war and tension with Russia. My heart hurts so much for these people who have gone through physical, political trauma with no clear end in sight.  

The government provides 25 percent of the cost of treatment. Organization such as LifeNets help with the rest. There are as many as 200 children in treatment at any one time .

We were moved to tears of joy when seeing the fruit of 20 years of work that LifeNets is so proud to be a part of.

We had lunch with Dr. P and his wife Natalia in an Italian restaurant in town. Then we went back to the Center.

We had a visitor from Belarus, Natasha Teague’s son came by from Gomel to deliver some items for his mother in the United States.

Then we went back to Dr. P’s apartment in town. For the evening my nephew Colin, along with Bev and me went into Chernihev to the Lviv Chocoate Café, Colin's  a favorite place to go for coffee and just to relax. We had coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, cappuccino, and waters. All for less than four dollars.

Then we walked down the middle of a boulevard towards the Desna River and the ancient churches. We stopped at a restaurant and had dinner for the three of us for $16 .00. It was an Italian restaurant again…we can’t get away from Italian, even after leaving Italy. It was good to talk to Colin and hear about his plans. He is leaving here after almost a year of work the day after we go, which is this Friday. He hopes to join the Peace Corps and come back to Ukraine. I really admire his love for his roots and national identity from generations gone by. When we were at the Center, when we were walking from room to room, all the staff praised Colin for his love and dedication to working with the children.     

By the way, the churches in Italy made a nice contribution to the Center that I presented to Dr. P. He wrote a nice letter to Carmelo Anastasi.  

Tomorrow is the big celebration day. Visitors from the United Kingdom are arriving today.  


Janet Palmer

Our April trip to Ukraine and the Revival Center was a once-in-a lifetime experience for me this was my first trip "across the pond". We Americans truly don't have a clue how blessed we are in ways too numerous to count. Dr. P.'s vision has come to fruition after many dedicated years. There is always more to accomplish. Colin has been a blessing to that community, and he has been blessed in return. His heart is truly with the children, and his Ukrainian heritage. So very proud to claim him as a Grandson.

Anthony Miles

Wonderfully inspiring to see all the work that is done here and the dedication of the people involved.

Melvin and Sadie Parks

Thank you so much, for sharing with us you trip. It was such a joy following you on your blog. Thank you so much for all that you do and are doing for God's peoples. We pray that God will continue to bless you and His work. Melvin and Sadie Parks