This past Saturday an extremely drunken driver sped up onto a sidewalk, killing five teens and two adults who were waiting at a bus stop. Those teens, (Dima, Vova, Jessica, Nastya and Vika) had just been at an awards ceremony at Victory Park, where they had received prizes for their crafts. The teens, all orphans, and their teacher and her husband (Olya and Seriozha), were very much loved and supported by everyone at Maria's Children, the art studio and charity here in Moscow that helps orphans and children in need through art therapy and various other forms of assistance.
These children had literally grown up with Maria's Children, blossoming as people and artists through their weekly visits. They were precious to those who knew them. Dima loved to draw scenes from the metro, and was able to find beauty even in that which seemed devoid of it. Vika loved to give everyone beautiful and complicated braids in their hair. Nastya was very worried about what would become of her once she aged out of the orphanage. Olya had devoted her life to helping orphaned children, putting her two advanced degrees (art and special education) to use. Her husband was a rare father figure to these kids, doing all he could to support his wife and them. They loved these children and the void at Orphanage #7 is now vast and aching.
The funeral for all them is this morning and it is a very sad day in Moscow.
People in Russia are quite outraged that this drunken driver, who readily admitted to having been drinking for two days straight, was even allowed to be driving at all after a previous DUI arrest. He now faces a maximum penalty of nine years in prison for having murdered these seven wonderful people... This makes no sense to me at all... The women who protested against Putin by disrespectfully performing a vulgar rock song in the country's main cathedral were sentenced to three years in a penal colony, and this guy only faces six more years than they do? How can this possibly be?
Those of you who know and love all that Maria's Children does, please show your support. You can find them on facebook at Maria's Children ArtCenter Moscow or at their website, www.mariaschildren.ru.