Charity festival “White Flower”, 19-5-2019, Moscow
Photos: the festival as seen by our volunteers
On May 19, in Moscow, in the Marfo-Mariinsky convent, the White Flower charity festival has taken place. The orthodox relief service “Miloserdie” has been organizing the festival annually for already 9 years. This year the feast turned out to be the biggest for all years – thousands of Muscovites and city guests have came to the convent, and about 4 million rubles have been collected in total.
This year, in the framework of the interaction between Diakonia and “Miloserdie”, the experts of “Miloserdie” held a number of webinars on technologies and the preparation process of the festival. Three Diaconia volunteers – Elena Palchinskaya from Krefelda, Olga Schmidt from Wiesbaden, Irina Simonova from Berlin – were able to visit Moscow Our volunteers could directly participate in preparing and holding the festival, were in the midst of it. They have learned and seen a lot. Elena Palchinskaya is reporting:
«I arrived to Moscow on May 15 in the morning. We have received the hospitality from Maria Vitalevna, the director of the St. Dmitrievsky Children’s Center: I was met at the airport by an employee of the center who drove me to the destination. Moscow is totally unfamiliar to me: it seemed alien, yet somehow attractive. With the help of the staff of the center, I was able to solve communication issues and get settled a little.
The next day, having the map inspected thoroughly, not completely sure about the way the subway works, I have arrived to the heart of the “Miloserdie” organization. On this day, I helped to decorate the donation jars, and to pack a piano for transportation. In the storage room at the church, Olya Romanova and I have been pulling out the plastic donation boxes, that we decorated on Saturday with other volunteers with the symbols of the “White Flower”. We have finished around eight in the evening. I was a little tired, but had a pleasant feeling in my soul.
On Friday, our Olga Schmidt has arrived, and we went together to the” Miloserdie” office. On this day, we helped to cut out the invitation cards for a tour of the church, museum and garden in the convent. We have met nice people, shared our experiences and listened to the employees of ” Miloserdie”. After discussion with Anya Belavina, we have decided to draw conclusions on Saturday, upon final preparations, and on Sunday – on the mere festival day. On Saturday, the 18th, I have brought to the monastery all the crafts we have collected in Germany, under kind supervision of lovely Natalia. We have seen the volunteers working everywhere, working tirelessly like ants, and tried to absorb this special atmosphere of goodness that was felt here so much. Our Diakonia “Good Deed” was allocated a stand, a table under the roof. We apprised all our crafts with the help of an expect, we have rendered all possible assistance to the others, we have taken photos for Diakonia, and, finally, satisfied and confident, we have returned to the children’s center.
Our Irina has arrived on Sunday morning, she was the first to reach the convent. Upon our arrival, we have found our crafts already arranged and mixed with others. This embarrassed me at first, but in fact it was not so bad. There was no place for our big poster. Yet we got the bearings quickly, we left on the table only a small one, fixing it with a pretty white flower. We have spread our flyers upon the table and started to work. We forgot about PR, we have delved into the lively process of the fair, and, communicating with people, have received a sea of positive energy. During the bazaar, on turns, we made photos of this miracle of good. How many good people came up and bought the crafts, or simply threw money into the money boxes — it was impossible to count them!
I remember most one case. We were selling our beautiful doll, we wanted 2 thousand rubles for it. After listening to our story about Germany, and how this doll has been made, a woman took it, put 5 thousand rubles and humbly left. A kind soul!
We have sold almost everything, not counting trifles. We were satisfied and full of positive energy, and have dispersed – some to the airport, some to the children’s center. The next day I went home to Germany. This time without any help — I had already settled in and felt confident in this alien, but somehow so attractive city — Moscow»
We hope that the interaction between Diaconia and “Miloserdie” will continue, and soon the White Flower actions will be held in the cities of Germany.