Friday-August 10

This morning started out well with delicious ham and egg sandwiches!  Some of the Hope Singer folks tried putting jelly with them along with cucumbers and whatever else was available on the table!  We migrated upstairs shortly afterwards to do some warm-ups and some rehearsing on our marching songs.  Oh my…I feel for Lloyd.  It is such hard work to teach Hope Singers how to march in step with perfect rhythm!  So he didn’t prolong the experience, but simply stopped after a while and waved us off to have a great day walking around Minsk.


We took off in four directions after exiting the train, since we had four guides for the town.  Somehow, however, my group kept running into numerous other Hope Singers in the market place!  What fun we had purchasing stuff, crunching pickles and eating raspberries.  My group opted to have pizza for lunch and what huge slices we received!  Of course we had to go to a coffee shop for some dessert afterward and oh..was it ever good! J Jessica ordered a piece of tiramisu that was absolutely saturated with coffee!


Soon it was time to meet at Gateway to English School to get into program attire for our evening program.  We seem to be getting more efficient each time, because it didn’t take us very long at all.  We went all black tonight so the ladies just needed wimples yet to look like authentic nuns!  I thoroughly enjoyed walking to our program!  We sang in the palace in Minks.  I would say we had a very warm, friendly reception from the people.  I was so excited about seeing Sarah (Overholt) Alimowski, her husband Marek and her two boys, Samuel and Rafael.  They even joined us for a while as we ate kebabs and chicken at a restaurant afterwards.  Janek’s dad, Adam, entertained us with Polish history as we munched on our supper.


Our mode of transportation back to Gustav’s was by bus, van, or overloaded cars.  The bus load(which I was on) serenated the driver with music till we arrived at Gustav’s.  This concludes our lovely day in Minsk. Goodbye- Heather Martin

Thursday-August 9

Most people began the day in the best way possible- sleeping in. After waking up, most people began doing their laundry. After a week of accumulating, everyone had far more laundry than they desired. Because there is only one washer, most of the washing had to be done by hand. The majority of the day was spent was then spent trying to make the wet clothes become dry. This was complicated by the fact that it rained off and on throughout the day. Although there were only several displays of temper, there was undeniably a large amount of frustration because of the situation. As a result, much of the clothes are still wet as I write( after curfew).


While the majority of the choir stressed out over getting all their laundry done, this writer sneaked quietly off to his sister’s house to use the washer and let her take care of the drying. Although this was undoubtedly an unfair advantage in comparison to the rest of the choir, very few people found out about this crime. The secrecy involved undoubtedly saved a riot.


While people waited for their laundry to dry, they played games, slept, or otherwise amused themselves. Meanwhile, this writer had a blast hanging out with his sister and her husband, ate pizza, and otherwise had a great time.


For the evening, the entire choir sat together and listened to stories and enjoyed music as small groups displayed their considerable talent. The honorable director and his wife entertained many people by numerous stories from their lives. The entire evening was enjoyed by all.


Jacob Zimmerman

Wednesday-August 8

We started out from our hostel this morning at the early hour of 6:10. The church at Wola Piotrova was very generous and gave us breakfast (as well as two meals yesterday).  There was a lot a bus time today. We stopped for a picnic lunch at a restaurant/gas station, and arrived in Pulawy around 3:00. The concert was hosted by a small Baptist church who hosted us at a Community Culture Center. The audience seemed very appreciative of the music. I am looking forward to being back “home” at Gustav’s tonight. We don’t have any schedule tomorrow 🙂 Yes, that means sleeping in!! And washing!!- MaryBeth


Aug. 7

9:00 a.m. We head out of Krakow sharp on the hour. Projected bus time – 4 hours. I help Smike lose a game of Rook to Heather and Titus, and we finally break into the hoard of snack mixes for our first official Snak Mix Time!

2:20 p.m. Arrival in the beautiful mountain village of Wola Piotrowa. Rehearsal after dinner goes as well as can be expected for those of us who are directionally impaired. I slap my right leg hard a few times in hopes that physical pain will make some kind of brain connection for later. I don’t like to be the one choir member wobbling out of sync in the right-left, right-left “Alleluia” march.

6:52 p.m. There are approximately 15 people sitting in the auditorium built for 200. Oh well, if we’re double the size of our audience, it’s no matter.

6:55 p.m. People stream in and pack the church to the balcony. I remember that in Poland it’s  considered rude to be early.

7:00 p.m. I think nobody notices that I switch stride from left-right to right-left 4 steps into “Alleluia”.

8:40 p.m. The audience is warm in the applause and I feel a oneness in Spirit with these brothers and sisters and am glad I am here.

9:30 p.m. I eat 6 slices of bread topped with ham and cheese and hardboiled egg.

10:15 p.m. Dervin enjoys effectively shorting his fellow choir members’ circuits as they get on the bus by asking them, “Can you count?” and watching gleefully as they struggle to find the hidden point behind this dark riddle. There is none, we discover later. Perhaps someone slipped something in his water bottle.

10:45 p.m. We get to our hostel and find our rooms through a black haze of fatigue. Unless it’s just our black-uniformed fellows.

11:15 p.m. Projected waking time – 5:20

~Maria Wadel

Monday, August 6

Today was a very fine day with the option to tour Auschwitz, a salt mine, or stay in Kracow.  The Auschwitz experience was sobering.  The salt mine, my choice, was quite interesting and also quite fun having the opportunity to sing a few songs in the mine.  And yes, the wall tasted salty!  The ones who stayed in Kracow toured the historical sites of the town.  Everyone enjoyed the day and met in the center square of Kracow for the afternoon and evening.  And now to Wola Piotrowa in the early morning for a concert tomorrow evening. -Phil Yoder