THE BLIND BEGGAR"—Mrs. Captain Kathie Ljungholm joins friends at Kiev's hippest youth spot; The Blind Beggar Cafe.
THE BLIND BEGGAR CAFE'
Opens For Youth
A downtown vodka pub co-opted by the Kiev I Corps turns into a haven of soda and popcorn-filled fun and fellowship for two hours each Saturday night for more than 100 teen-age junior and senior soldiers and their friends.
"It's a safe alternative to hanging out on the streets," says Mrs. Captain Kathie Ljungholm, who opened the "Blind Beggar Cafe" in September. She notes that many of the youth at the corps came through the camp program conducted last summer by the USA Western Territory summer service corps team.
The cafe is a good example of the creative leadership of Captain and Mrs. Sven-Erik Ljungholm, regional commander, Ukraine and Moldova. In the past eight months, two corps have opened in Kiev, and hundreds of junior and senior soldiers are actively involved in corps programs.
Starting a work in a city where it takes five years to get an apartment and seven years to get a telephone line—and where doctors earn as little as $5 a month—isn't easy.
"Kathie just found new offices for the command," Ljungholm says. "She negotiated a payment of $700 less per month than the asking price, and it even has two separate phone lines - in the very centre of Kiev!"
The Kiev I Corps, under the leadership of the Ljungholms, with the assistance of newly commissioned Russian officers Lt. and Mrs. Philip (Svetlana) Rybakov, has a growing ministry with more than 20 hearing impaired students in addition to a full complement of traditional Army programs. (The Rybakovs were recruits and sworn in as soldiers under the Ljungholms in the Moscow Central Corps, Russia just two years earlier)
In January, Ljungholm will teach classes on social services at the Internal Affairs Academy, which is responsible for running the country's prison system.
Social work is a new field in the former Soviet Union, and the need for social services is dire. (Canadians) Captain Lois Dueck, assisted by lay worker Janette Lewis, oversee a variety of social service programs in Kiev, which include prison visitation, family services work, feeding, and counseling.
"Teams of five Salvationists visit men and women in prison, and we will soon start a Bible study in the prison," says Dueck. "We distribute a lot of food and clothing, especially to the elderly and invalids, and even to the working people. I don't know how people survive here." She notes wages are very low, with the principal of the school where they rent office space earning only $8 a month. (wages are often paid months late, with no adjustments made for the 100% per moth inflation rates)
The Army has a feeding program at a school of 1,000 students and a cafe for pensioners, and operates soup runs at train stations, where they feed over 1,000 each week.
The Blind Beggar was located just off Kreschatyk Boulivar, Kiev’s most famous street in a quiet park like setting, around the corner from the Command Headquarters