Saturday, September 28, 2019

Blog #6 Some Good Things Come to an End


Ukraine Blog #6

This, our last week here in Ukraine, was an overlap week with Alvin and Mary Suderman. They will be staying here in Molochansk until the end of October. Alvin is our Board Chair.

We started our Monday morning with a meeting at the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv. It was our hope to get further information and insight on the reforms that the newly-elected Ukrainian government is planning. Our findings were that the new government members are young (average age in the 40s) and that they are busy passing new laws. For we former bureaucrats who value policy, process and procedures, this seems a bit hasty. But we have to admire their energy and focus to make changes. We did get some helpful information on some changes that could impact our work.

We had a powerful experience in Kyiv while standing at the site where young Ukrainians were shot by Russian snipers during the Maidan revolution. This is becoming the birthplace of a new Ukraine. 



This week we attended a celebration of the 30-year work of Florence and Otto Driedger. They were instrumental in getting schools of social work, victim offender reconciliation, and the Florence Centre, started in Ukraine. Alvin made a presentation on the European history of Mennonites.  He was followed by Ukrainian historians who spoke on the recent gravestone findings in Zaporizhzhya, and the opportunity to use these stones as a way to further tell the Mennonite story and enhance tourism opportunities.



Our meeting with Probation Manager Uriy seemed to bring together our various meetings this week. Uriy just came back from an international conference on Criminal Justice Reform held in Kyiv, and he mentioned a point of interest from the conference; that reforms may raise expectations that may be difficult to deliver. That was also said at our embassy meeting.  He spoke of the ongoing development of victim/offender reconciliation projects for youth; that was  also mentioned at the Driedger celebration. The message of change seems to be getting out.




The week ended with a nostalgic return visit to the former Mennonite village of Vladovka, Waldheim in days past. Here we met with Dr. Troyan, the past chief administrator of the local hospital.  This hospital built in 1908 by the Kornelius and Aganetha Warkentin family is now being transformed into a medical clinic with three family physicians.  Dr. Troyan’s services are no longer needed after 42 years of service at the hospital and he has joined others in the downsizing exercise.  He has been a good friend of the Mennonite Centre and of many Warkentin descendants.  Today was his last day there.  We gave him a small gift, many hugs, and a sincere goodbye.  His loud voice and somewhat gruff manner did not dampen his love for his community.  This hospital was in the eastern side of Molotchna.  The Muntau hospital was its equal on the western side of Molotchna.  Currently these hospitals no longer receive overnight patients but are operating as clinics only.  It really is the end of an era.  We left Vladovka with some sadness, but also with many wonderful memories of the community.  It still looks neat and tidy, even in its decline.


Aganetha and Kornelius Warkentin


It is interesting and exciting while in our retirement years, to be part of ongoing changes in this country. To be in good health, encouraged and supported by you dear friends is indeed something to be very thankful for.

If you wish to know more about the work of the Mennonite Centre, you can check out our web site at: http://www.mennonitecentre.ca/ or follow our daily activities on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Mennonite-Centre-Ukraine-735361069838076/


1 Comments:

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