We brought 7 unicycles to a Russian Orphanage

Christian (from Houston) and I went to Russia last week with 7 unicycles. Two 28" , Two 16" , Two 24", One 20" . After riding around St Petersburg for 4 days ( http://gallery.texasunicycle.com/album09 ) , we left for an orphange - a 4 hour drive into the country. We spent 5 days living in the orphanage, teaching them to unicycle, and just having fun with them. There were 150 kids there. The ages range from 5 to 17 years. The unicycles were immediately popular and it was hard to give everyone enough practice time to learn how to ride. By the 2nd day, we had 2 kids riding. By days 4 and 5, I think 5 kids could ride pretty well. One was free mounting. We left all 7 unicycles at the orphanage. I’m sure they will get plenty of use.

For me this experience was totally amazing and overwelming emotionally. I developed friendships with all these kids. They were incredibly loving and their enthusiasm / determination to learn to ride a unicycle was great to see. They seemed happy despite their lack of parents or money.

…Just wanted to share. Here are some pics of the orphanage:
http://wanderingphotos.smugmug.com/gallery/3377151
and here:
http://wanderingphotos.smugmug.com/gallery/3376961

Awsome, I love hearing this. You put a smile on my face, maybe not quite as big as the kids you met, but your good work still flows onword through me.

That brought a tear (of joy!) to my eyes! That is why I love this Unicyclist community so much! Cheers!:slight_smile:

Edit: The Pics a great they all look so happy! My respect to you sir! Now I can’t wait to start my unicycle clinic giving free lessons! There may be a liabilty issue though so I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for sharing the great story, very inspiring!

That’s outstanding, Eric. It’s great how the unicycle can turn you into an ambassador, and I’m sure it will really make a difference in the lives of some of those kids.

Are you going to make it out to California MUni Weekend this year?

Eric, that is awesome! How did you decide to go there? How did you hook up with that particular orphanage?

I also hope you can make it to CMW this year.

—Nathan

that’s all there is to it.

good job.:wink:

Thank you for sharing your world to us Eric. It has been one of my goals to visit an orphanage somewhere in China, Mexico, or Russia and do something like that. Now that I have seen it, I know it is one of the things that I must do before I die.

Excellent, Eric and Christian! I can only imagine how “emotionally overwhelming” that would be. Great example of how much you can get by giving.

Will you be in touch with them somehow to find out if any more kids learned to ride?

Scott

My friend Christian has been there several times. This was the first time he decided to bring unicycles. He has been to other orphanages. This particular one he has developed a good relationship with. The kids know him and so does the director.

I was in the Army about 15 years ago and I learned Russian at the Defense Language Institute. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to go to Russia. When I heard that Christian was going there and wanted to take unicycles and teach kids how to ride, I asked him if I could come. What an awesome way to be forced to use the language!

Scott -
I don’t know when I’ll go back there, but it will be sometime. Many more of the kids were almost riding. They were riding comfortably while holding someones hands.
I’ve promised to correspond with several of the kids. I can ask them if more people are riding. Christian and I are worried about keeping the unicycles working. They were riding them through puddles. I think we will need to bring extra bearings, pedals, etc. I did leave them with patches for the innertubes. Also they were breaking the seatpost quick release levers. I went to a store and bought bolts, washers and nuts to replace the ones that broke and enough for when the remaining working ones break.

That’s awesome. I love picture #92 in your Trip Highlights slide show - Спасибо