Bringing smiles to the country that doesn't exist

Gregg and Luke become unlikely superheroes in communist Transnistria.

Transnistria: One of the most isolated countries in the world, where the KGB still exists, houses an orphanage of over 300 children. Together with Smile of a Child (a Moldovan volunteer organization) we were able to organize clothing, medical supplies, and necessities such as toothpaste and lightbulbs. Not without challenge, were we granted entry into one of the most closed-off societies in the world. Human rights groups and prying eyes are unwelcome - lest they see the condition of state run orphanages. In fact, two busloads of humanitarian aid sent before us were refused on suspiscion of what a volunteer Moldovan group would be there for..... Until Batman and Captain America showed up, stormed into the Directors office with an army of kids marching behind their capes as they demanded to meet with the children and share the gifts we came to bring. A gesture that would likely get someone arrested in the west was well-received in a society accustomed to blind authority and respectable costumes. So well-received, in fact, the director stood to her feet in attention and called for all of the kids in the orphanage to come meet our team.

The day was saved and a brief message given to the excited kids. "The world tells you to care only for yourself, but the stories of superheros remind us to take care of others." The children were so moved by the words and sight of who they thought were the "real" Batman and "real" Captain America that they put their arms around one another, embracing as sisters and brothers while they received the message. Our team remained 4 hours, giving love and attention to the lovely children in Popeni Transnistria, many of whom have never had a hug.  This is a day that can be said, for sure, no one would ever forget, including us, the children, and the orphanage workers. The real heroes this day were our friends at Smile of a Child, and you, our supporters, who make it all possible.

Photographed are the lovely children receiving gifts and attention. Also the co-ed bathroom and shower situation for nealy 200 kids.