We all missed it. Almost half a year of a rather unkind winter had taken its toll on us. Here, in Kazakhstan, the first day of spring was marked on the calendar already on March 1, but we celebrated even the Kazakh Nauryz (March 21) still in the midst of very winter scenery, almost up to our shoulders in snow. Kazakhstan teaches us not only humility, but also patience. It teaches us to wait… Little Daniel explained to Sister Letancja – Don’t worry, Sister, now there is still snow, then there will be mud and after that there will be your green grass! We waited not so much for the first warm rays of the spring sun, for the smell of the earth or for the first green leaves, but for our children from the Day Care Center*, who are true signs of spring, life and hope.
Exactly a year ago, due to the pandemic, we had to suspend our activities in the Day Care Center due to illness, isolation, restrictions and prohibitions. We had to accept all the decisions and put a padlock on the door. Everything suddenly froze. It fell silent. It stopped. We looked at our deserted playground, at empty streets and probably, like everyone else, we asked ourselves – why? – for how long? – what will be next? On occasion little boys came running, shouting at the window: Sister, can you give me some water? And that was our only contact with children – maintaining social distance and all the binding standards. I do not even know when the summer passed, I do not remember the golden autumn. Everything was covered with snow which was laying on the roads and the steppe. A severe frost slowly froze our hopes for normality. Six long months.
Until finally came the longed-for news that religious institutions may (of course still with limitations) resume their activities! We have all waited so much for this moment. Hearing the “patter of little feet” in the Day Care Center again is like hearing the first lark in the field, being happy that dandelions are starting to grow from under the mud, like exposing your tired face to the warm rays of the sun. The kids are back. Not yet at full capacity, but happy, full of energy, ideas and a willingness to play and explore the world.
* ”Day Care Center” – this is what we call our little preschool. Formally, it is not a preschool, but we try to make the children in our care feel, play and learn, as in any of our Nazareth preschools. The conditions and possibilities are certainly much more modest, but one thing is the same – the happy eyes of a child.
Sr. Kazimiera Wanat