A GROUP of Chernobyl children are currently enjoying a visit to the Fermanagh area. Five of the 18 children are staying in areas such as Irvinestown, Bellanaleck, Newtownbutler and Roslea.
The group are currently on their second week of the trip and have been enjoying activities all over the county.
Group leader Eveline Smith has been involved in bringing the Chernobyl Children to Northern Ireland for the past eight years and Eveline is currently enjoying the three weeks with the group.
“The trip is going the best, the first week is over and the time is flying in. All the children have settled in well and there has been no problems so far, the odd communication problem but nothing major.” said Eveline.
While settling in with their host families, the children are treated the same as the families’ own children and are looked the same as their own. The children have settled in well and have quickly got used to the Irish weather. As part of their trip, the children have been sampling the waters of Fermanagh as they enjoyed a trip on the Lough Erne followed by a barbecue at the yacht club. Yesterday, Tuesday, they enjoyed a fun day at Castle Archdale.
“They love the fresh food and the fresh air, they always want to be outside. They do not mind the rain, it does not take a flinch out of them. They are always running about and just enjoying themselves. They love getting down to the water and feeling the sand between their toes. I even notice one of my boys has grown since he has arrived.” said Eveline.
The remainder of the trip is jam packed for the children as their host families have a range of activities lined up for them. On Thursday they will travel to the Marble Arch Caves followed by activities at the Share Centre and then dances at the Ceili House. Other trips will see the children travel to Lustybeg, Dromore church hall and Rossnowlagh.
Next weekend the children will be getting ready to return home after their three week visit. The children benefit immensely from the visit, but the host family also have a chance to mix with other cultures and meet other families who are hosting other children.
“When it is time for the farewell dinner, that is when you realise their time is coming to an end. The families all get attached to the children who have come over. It is very much cross community project with each family working for the sole purpose of the children. There is also a social aspect as the families all mix together. I have been involved for eight years and I have built some long standing friendships.” added Eveline Smith.
The children will be in the area for another week and a half before heading home on Monday August 8th.
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