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OneMinutesJr workshop in Odessa, Ukraine (3)

by Chris Schuepp

ODESSA, Ukraine, 5 October 2012 - Day 3 at the OneMinutesJr workshop in Odessa and today we are out in the streets of the Black Sea city to turn the children's ideas into films, shooting a lot of material in different locations around town.

We accompany Anton to the northern part of Odessa where he used to live in the streets with his parents. Now 12 years old, Anton and his family was picked up by the Social Patrol of The Way Home NGO about four years ago. His mother agreed to let him go to the children's shelter because she was promised that he can go to school there.

Anton shows us the place he used to call his "home." Behind a row of Soviet style apartment blocks, through a hole in a fence we enter a wild part of the city where some ruined buildings give way to nature, where garbage is everywhere and where the stray dogs bark day and night. We get to the very place where Anton's family used to live. A plastic bottle is fixed to a tree, upside down, the top part cut open. When you screw off the lid at the bottom, you have running water. The water faucet of Anton's childhood.

Anton in the place where he used to live.

There is a new "room" nearby. Someone has built a shelter from plastic covers. Other homeless people seem to have taken over Anton's former home, but luckily we don't run into anybody today.

On the way back to The Way Home, we pass by a "bunker". In these huge underground rooms you can see the hot water pipes that feed the apartment blocks of Odessa with heat in the winter and hot water throughout the year. They should be locked with metal plates, but most of them are open and so homeless people use them as their shelter in the cold part of the year. Anton can also remember this from his early childhood, including the rats and the sicknesses.

Time for some editing - the workshop boys are taking over the laptop.

In the afternoon we go out to a different part of Odessa where Petya wants to show us where he lived in the streets. There are teenagers there he still remembers from back then when he was not at The Way Home yet and he wants to do an interview with them. It is a shocking sight, his friends are in a very bad shape due to drugs and an HIV-infection. It seems like they have lost the fight while Petya made a last-minute escape when he was taken from here and made it to the children's shelter to get a new home, friends and education included.

Back in the workshop room, the boys are now interested in the computer work and how to edit the material they shot today.

And finally, in the evening of the third day of our workshop, the first film is ready. Petya's movie "My former life..." is all done, including English subtitles and now it can go online for everybody to see how some children live here in Odessa and how Petya has successfully made the important step into a better life.





Odessa workshop


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