BLOG # 1 2019
Back to Ukraine
Even though it is hard to say good-bye to our children and grandchildren, we are always warmly welcomed by our friends and co-workers here in Ukraine. Not only was the welcome warm, but also the weather. Having come from a world of deep snow and blizzards, it is a treat to see green grass, swelling buds on trees, and early spring flowers. We see people walking with rakes and hoes to their “dachas” (gardens). Apparently some have already planted potatoes, in order to take advantage of the spring moisture.
We flew directly into Zaporoschye with Polish Airlines instead of to Dnepro, saving us one and half hours of additional travel by road. Unfortunately they left one of our checked bags somewhere along the way and we had to pick it up 3 days later.
In the first 4 days at the office, we have already had many requests for assistance from schools for repairs, and pleas from individuals for medical help. We are always impressed with the dedication of teachers and parents to look after the upkeep of their schools. The government does not cover maintenance costs and so those are left up to the community. Often Mennonite Centre helps pay for supplies while teachers and parents provide the labor.
Again we are seeing the insurmountable expense for individuals who need chemo treatments or surgeries. Many have already exhausted all other possible resources for funding and then come to the Centre for help. Just this morning we received the heartfelt thanks from a woman whose husband received funding for his third round of chemo. We wish you, our donors, could have heard her expressions of gratitude.
Today we were invited to visit a school on the other side of the Molotschna River. These are villages that originally belonged to the German Lutheran population. Mennonite Centre had assisted this school with several projects in recent years, such as windows, small chairs for the Kindergarten, lighting, internet installation, and a dividing wall to facilitate two Kindergarten classes. The principal proudly explained, in German, all the benefits to their school. Students are taught German and English. Then we were invited to a lovely lunch as their way of saying “Thank-you”.
Our seven week stay in Ukraine is quickly filling up with visits to check on various projects, those already completed as well as new requests for assistance. We are also making plans for an annual Ukrainian Mennonite Centre board meeting, a legal requirement for registered charities in Ukraine.