Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kaļvu family

PHOTODONATION: Raimo Lielbriedis

While searching for children’s homes on internet, I encountered a very interesting thing, a thing I didn’t hear before – a family children’s home. I thought...interesting...what is it? I phoned to make an appointment. A very pleasant female’s voice replied, and told me that she definitely will welcome us but we have to come during the afternoon when all the children are at home. I asked: „how many children are there?” – “Currently eight, there are eight orphans who miss the care of parents, and are living in the Kaļvu family”.
On a lovely April afternoon together with the photographer Raimo Lielbriedis we’re arriving in the yard of the Kaļvu family house. A beaming lady and an elegant gentleman – Inese and Pēteris Kaļvas – are expecting us. When we enter the house, we are seated at the table and treated with coffee and cookies. Several children are at home – tiny Ainārs (2 years) is taking a nap, mom’s little darling – Elza (7 years) is next to mom and frightfully looking at us. There is also sister Dana (12) and brother Valentīns (15) shrunk away in a corner and listening to our conversation.
I see “Latvian Pride 2004” on a shelf in a seat of honour, and Inese tells me that they were the first who were awarded this honour. I want to know more about how it is to handle eight children, who are not your own and who come from different places of Latvia, each with its pain and destiny.

They are truly admirable – Inese with such an excitement and joy tells me about each of her babies. Kaļvu family’s children’s home, if it can be called that way, „acts” since 1990. Everything began by accident, when an old lady brought the small akin child Dace to live there during the summer. Dace was kept underfed and was very skinny. In the beginning she ate Baltic herrings without leaving their heads on the plate. In the autumn when the old lady wanted to return Dace to her biological mother, the child cried and didn’t want to go. In this way Dace stayed with Inese and Pēteris. The rest of children appeared little by little, as if by accident. Altogether 16 children have been raised in Kaļvu family’s charge, from which eight still live with them. Children, who have already come of age and have begun to live their own lives, still keep in touch with the foster-parents. The foster-parents are still offering them support and advice in case of necessity. During the festivities almost all foster-children come together, many of them have already become parents themselves, also their own three children who are already grown-up and independent arrive, as well as 7 foster-grandchildren, and then a real brawl begins. Altogether 29 people gathered on one of the Christmas evenings.
I was surprised by the fact that all children call Inese and Pēteris “mom” and “dad”, and they in return call everybody “my baby”, although everybody is well aware that Inese and Pēteris are not their real parents.
Both Kaļvas are ceramists, and once they had really good times, they could even earn with their craft. Now all the time is taken by children, and beautiful ceramic crockery is seen only in the shelves, only now and then a child is seated next to the potter’s wheel.
Jūlija (14) and Artūrs (17) also arrive from school. Now everybody who is not attending the “faraway” schools are at home, daughter Ilze (20) studies in Medicine school, son Igors (17) – in Limbazi polytechnic school. The foster-mother of many children, Inese, tells us that perhaps it’s hers and her husband’s destiny to raise these forgotten children, and the satisfaction gained by being with these children is not replaceable by anything. I completely agree with it. Warm-heartedness, which is seen in the eyes of both of them when they look at these children, is noticeable with the unaided eye.
Of course, warm-heartedness is not enough, and if taking into consideration the practical things, it is hard to raise 8 children by only receiving the state support. Although Inese and Pēteris are not complaining, and saying “Everything’s enough; only windows could be new because these let the wind go through”; as it is with large families, everything – dishes, clothing, plumbing - worn out pretty fast. And food! Teenage guys can eat up to 14 sandwiches during the breakfast. The house doesn’t have a bathroom; everybody goes to the small hothouse to wash themselves, and there is only the dry toilet in the house.
When all the children have arrived, we can get together to take a picture. Also the little Aināriņš is awake and the photographer Raimo seats everybody on a big sofa. By looking at this family, I can only admire these caring people who are generously awarded by God with the ability to love, and to love not only your brother but also those to whom the destiny was not favourable to. We’re grateful to them from the bottom of our hearts!

Let’s help Kalvu family to get the necessary things:

Footwear, clothing


Pots (large), pans (young hostesses have to learn to cook)

Cups, plates (they break fast)

Teaspoons, forks (they disappear like in a Bermuda Triangle)

Setting in new windows

Repair of the bathroom and WC


Ainārs – 2 years; shoe size 25-26

Elizabete – 4 years; shoe size 27

Elza – 7 years; shoe size 33-34

Dana – 12 years; shoe size 37

Jūlija – 14 years; shoe size 39

Valentīns – 15 years; shoe size 44

Igors – 17 years; shoe size 44

Artūrs - 17 years; shoe size 42

Ilze - 20 years; shoe size 38

Our most sincere thanks to the angels of Kaļvu family:

Anonymous - LVL 20, - (22.02.11.)
Inga Jansone – LVL 10,- (12.11.12.)
Diana Zukule – LVL 10,- (02.01.13.)
Jana Smolko – LVL 50,- (19.08.13.) – For school

Autumn 2013
The young people from Kaļvu family has taken part in the summer camp for the young people club of Palīdzē "Tu vari, ja dari!” (You can do it if you do it!), they have taken part also in other young people social integration events during the summer and autumn. Thanks to the suppoprt of the donators we have fulfilled the big dream of the family- the windows in all house were changed. Now it needs much less heating because the warmth stays inside the house, also now it is possible to ventilate the kitchen and no need to warm themselves at the stove, it makes cooking much more easy. Special thanks to Ivars Siliņš, Arnis Siliņš and Sandis Drukša-Jaunzems!

End of 2013
Many thanks to Reinis and Dina Rozenbalti for the presented vacuum cleaner! Ivars and Zaiga Siliņi are planning to continue supporting Kaļvas family and to help to repair the bathroom!

We have paid the invoice for the repair works in the rooms of Kaļvu foster family house, amount paid-2300 EUR.

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