More recent posts about Ukraine

Articles from Ukraine

  1. Ukraine Orange Revolution

    We were fortunate to serve during the Ukrainian Orange Revolution.  This is a shot of a young woman activist in Kiev.

  2. Ukraine Baseball-Ukrainian Style

    Kids at my school wanted to learn to play baseball.  We had some equipment, but not nearly enough.  So, a friend, who works at Yahoo!, asked his team if they could spend a bonus on baseball gear--they agreed!  We ended up with enough equipment to have a "baseball camp."  I don't know anything about baseball, so volunteers who do came and did a week long baseball training camp--it was so much fun!  There were kids from about 6 or 7 years old to 18 all playing and learning together.  The kids w...

  3. Ukraine Baseball Camp

    Ukrainian campers and PCV's at baseball camp in Kosiv.

  4. Ukraine "Keep It Clean"

    "Keep It Clean" is an environmental campaign that may be familiar to many volunteers.  Kosiv students embraced the day.  This girl even embroidered the logo on her pants. 

  5. Ukraine Russian Teachers

    My host brother Ilya (age 7) and sister Vika (age 6), here on Day 1, were my favorite and most valuable Russian teachers.  They never lost patience and always took the greatest delight in my language blunders.  My first breakthrough moment came with Vika who was (as usual) sitting with me at my desk as I did my homework.  She asked me something I did not understand (again, as usual) and in trying to ask her to repeat I must have said something unintelligible.  She stared at me for a few seco...

  6. Ukraine Top of Pip Ivan

    Teachers, students, and two PCV's spent a day climbing Pip Ivan--at the top, the students explored and the teachers "spread a table" that was a teachers only zone.  There, Ben and I were introduced to the idea of doing a shot of vodka to help renew one's energy--it worked so well that my feet quit hurting and I was ready for the return hike.  I think the kids appreciated the teachers' attitude adjustment.

  7. Ukraine Ukrainka yogini

    My Ukrainian friends invited me to come to their exercise class.  A Russian woman had been there 10 years earlier and taught them an aerobics routine--they had been following it to a "T" for the past 10 YEARS!!!  That is how dedicated they are to being fit.  They asked me to introduce them to yoga and we began practicing together in a unheated gym--my yoga friends from the States sent us mats!  In the winter we could see our breath and our feet were blue.  The women brought their ki...

  8. Ukraine Babushka

    Babushki, with their quintessential headscarves and frumpy skirts, are a practically a national symbol.  Most have lived through times tougher that any PCV can imagine and a great deal can be learned from sharing a cup of chai with one and listening to a few of her stories. 

  9. Ukraine Our Garden

    This charming young lady holding our dog is our neighbor, Nastia. From late spring until late fall, our garden was full of flowers and vegetables. 

  10. Ukraine My Students

    This is a photo of one of my English classes as we showed off a newspaper from Monterey, California, my home town.

  11. Ukraine My wonderful host family

    I lived with the Skrebnevas for three years. They are wonderful, caring people and we had great times together, especially the summer holidays.

  12. Ukraine Kiev Pechersk Lavra

    The Kiev Pechersk Lavra, one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine, with its golden tops and intricate ornamentations, is best when visited on a sunny summer's day. Its sprawling grounds, home to a number of underground caves, overlook Kiev's Dnieper River.

  13. Ukraine My favorite english class

    I think I can safely say this was my favorite class while teaching in Stebnyk, in the Lvivska oblast of Ukraine. This was one day where they all wore traditional Ukrainian shirts to celebrate one of the many many many Ukrainian holidays. I just had to get in and take a picture with them. Now I have my own traditional Ukrainian blouse and love to wear it for my annual Ukrainian Christmas party back home.

  14. Ukraine Soviet-era factory rubble

    Before the fall of the Soviet Union, the city of Konstantinovka bustled with more than 20 factories, which provided thousands of jobs. Today, less than a handful of factories remain in operation. Two PCVs stand atop the rubble.

  15. Ukraine Men's Day

    Male students at a village school in eastern Ukraine participate in an annual Men's Day competition February 23, 2011. The strongest and wittiest wins a bronze trophy and the affection of many female students.

  16. Ukraine Flowers

    Babushkas line the pathways of the local markets in eastern Ukraine, selling flowers and other colorful goods. On a holiday, most of them will go through scores of roses, tulips and carnations.

  17. Ukraine Veteran honored on Victory Day

    Each year on May 9 countries of the former Soviet Union celebrate Dyen Pobyediy (День Победы!), or Victory Day, marking its defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the Great Patriotic War (known in the U.S., of course, as the Second World War). And each year cities across Ukraine and other former countries of the Soviet Union celebrate with parades and other festivities. In Artemovsk, my small eastern Ukrainian home, a parade kicked off the occasion. Beginning at the city center and winding it...

  18. Ukraine Angel Tree

      Two of my University students, Victoria and Dasha, distributing Christmas gifts at an orphanage as part of our “Angel Tree” project.

  19. Ukraine RPCV Adds a Y

    Piece to go with photo:      “Hello, Ms. Taylor. Our records show that you are filing for a name change. Can you please spell your desired new last name?”             “Yes. B-a-l-t-i-y-s-k-y-y.” “Ok, I’ll put in the records Baltisky is your new last name. Is that Russian?"   “No, it's Ukrainian. My husband's from Ukraine. It’s spelled:   B, as in back home           A, as in, acceptance           L, as in, missing Lviv           T, as in, terrified by traffic           I, as in, irrit...

  20. Ukraine Mummy Maker

      Here my English Club is having a Halloween Party I put together for them. They were at first reluctant to embrace a party like atmosphere while in a classroom, but they enthusiastic wrapped each other up in toilet paper.

  21. Ukraine Peace Corps Presentation

        I came to realize that while most people had known about the Peace Corps for years, few really understood what the organization was or why it existed at all. So when my university asked me to put on a presentation for a conference I chose Peace Corps as my topic. The three goals of Peace Corps, the different fields and countries it worked in was pretty much all new information for my audience.  

  22. Ukraine Valentine's Everywhere

    As the first Peace Corps Volunteer (and practically the first American) in the small town of Kosiv in western Ukraine, it took a while for trust to be built.  Being invited to the Valentine's Day festivities at the local primary school was very special.  These two little children were chosen as the "king and queen" of Valentine's Day and happily danced for everyone.

  23. Ukraine A Long, Wonderful Winter

    Winters in Ukraine are very long and very cold.  However, sunny days always bring people out.  This picture shows two typical Kosiv men sitting on a wool blanket that was woven in Kosiv with some beautiful homes in the background.  The men are hauling a "sleigh" that is full of hay that was cut and stored in the spring/summer.  Horse-drawn vehicles are a typical sight in Kosiv.  It is called a sleigh because of the "skates" used in winter instead of wheels (which are found...

  24. Ukraine Embroidery as Far as the Eye Can See

    In Western Ukraine, the Hutsuls are renowned for their embroidery.  There are many different groups (similar to clans) that each have their own recognizable style.  Every year there is a festival to celebrate Hutsul culture in Verhovena and other places.  This picture shows one vendor's embroidery for sale. 

  25. Ukraine Greek Ruins of Ukraine

    This is from a Summer camp I worked at in Sevastopol, a cit in Crimea.  During the moring I would teach English and in the afternoon we would go out sightseeing.  Here we are at some ancient Greek ruins. 

  26. Ukraine At Work

    This is me at the University where I taught with two of my students.  For awhile I had the idea that I would let my hair grow long while I was in the Peace Corps, this photo was taken shortly before I decided that was a bad idea.

  27. Ukraine Making bread the old fashioned way

    I signed up for a "rural tourism excursion" which was another volunteers to make promotional materials to promote green tourism in the small town of Mogilev-Podolskiy near the boarder of Moldova.  So I was alternating between pretending to be a visitor and operating the camera.  At this home full of old ladies they would make bread for you from scrach and then sing for you while it baked.  Which was cute at first, but do you know how long it takes to make bread the old fashioned w...

  28. Ukraine Making bread the old fashioned way

    I signed up for a "rural tourism excursion" which was another volunteer's project to make promotional materials to promote green tourism in the small town of Mogilev-Podolskiy near the boarder of Moldova.  So I was alternating between pretending to be a visitor and operating the camera.  At this home full of old ladies they would make bread for you from scratch and then sing for you while it baked.  Which was cute at first, but do you know how long it takes to make bread the old f...

  29. Ukraine дуже Ukrainian Girls

      This is at "Survival Camp" put together by volunteers to give students a chance to be outdoors and practice English.  Pictured are two of our campers posing in traditional Ukrainian clothes, making them "дуже" (very) Ukrainian Girls.

  30. Ukraine Easter Egg Hunt

      Here are some children searching for eggs at a hunt organized at an orphanage by Peace Corps Volunteers.

  31. Ukraine Pig Statue

      I found it amusing that someone decided “You know who needs a statue? Pigs.” It seems particularly odd to me now that I live in a Muslim country where people are revolted by pigs.

  1. Ukraine A Taste of Ukraine

    (This ran as a travel essay in the Seattle Times, Aug. 20, 2004.) Since coming to Ukraine in March as a Peace Corps volunteer, my culinary palate has been wiped clean and replaced with something entirely different. I've eaten raw fish, boiled fish head, raw pig fat, squid jerky, pickled everything and an odd assortment of mystery meat, usually doused with ketchup. Pizza usually includes corn and shredded, pickled carrots, and hot dogs are covered with cabbage and mayonnaise. But I e...

  2. Ukraine GLOWing in Ukraine

    What constitutes a youth summer camp in Ukraine?  Five PCVs, two showers, one electric burner, and 28 Ukrainian girls.  Mice, mosquitoes, bed bugs and filthy dorm rooms.  A week before the camp began, we had to cancel the camping component because our equipment fell through and rearrange responsibilities because two volunteers unexpectedly left the country.  Upon discovery of the single working burner, the first camp meal (spaghetti dinner) was a complete disaster.  That night, the five exhau...

  3. Ukraine Linguistics 101

    What a mystery is language.  What a wonderment.  The myriad ways humankind has developed for communicating.  And, the confusion caused when various methods connect, or attempt to connect, and fail. The best way I’ve found to comprehend many attempts at connection is to teach, no, to try to teach, a new language to children or teenagers.  It causes one to meet language face to face. Some examples--- “I am an ecologist.”  An English expression which states a profession.  The Russ...

  4. Ukraine Um, so, how was it?

    In the almost six years since I finished my Peace Corps service in Ukraine, I've thought a lot about what it all meant. Peace Corps as an organization often poses the questions: "What does your Peace Corps service mean to you?" or "How has you Peace Corps service impacted you life?" However, the question I've most been asked since I returned five years ago is: "Um, so, how was it?" A pretty impossible question to answer, actually. How to explain that you experience your highest highs ...

  5. Ukraine In Winter, Still a Warm Place

      Winter has arrived, that bitingly cold and miserably wet season dreaded by many PCVs in Ukraine. For me, it’s my first. Having arrived in March of 2010, I’d only heard the horrors of the worst Ukrainian winter in decades, about stranded buses, and broken space heaters, streets caked with ice and the feeling of being held prisoner in your own apartment. In June, while listening to these stories told by group 36 and 37 volunteers, I felt as though winter was a world away. Now, it’s here.   Tr...

  6. Ukraine What The Cluck?

    Something happened at the local bazaar the other day. While doing my daily produce shopping I found myself in perhaps the most helpless and intriguing situation I've been in thus far here in Ukraine. It began with a bump and ended with a thud. Someone had elbowed me in my backside. A mistake, more than likely. People squeeze into the narrow paths of the markets on their way to and from the many kiosks like wriggly little fish would if you were to put them all in the same bowl. The jab to my...

  7. Ukraine "That Movement"

    @font-face { font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } My birthday celebration was in full swing. We were sitting in a bar, had ordered the first red beers most of us had come across in the country and smiles were all around. We had gone to this bar...

  8. Ukraine A Ukrainian Spring

    It’s Spring. Warmer weather, longer days. Granted, I wear a sweater and a coat when I go on walks, but! — I go on walks. In Russian, there are two versions of the verb “to go by foot.” “Идти” means to go to a certain place in a particular moment; my Russian teacher translated it as “to head to” somewhere. “Xодите,” on the other hand, lacks that sense of immediacy; it is more general, more leisurely, less tied down to a specific time. This winter, when the ice and cold were brutal, I practice...

  9. Ukraine Host Mom Dynamo

    My best memory of my host-mom is how hard-working and industrious she was. She would be up every morning at dawn or earlier to cook the family breakfast. She had to send her daughter and me off with coffee and a very good meal. After that, she busied herself in her very productive garden for most of the day. She turned the soil, planted, weeded, watered and coaxed an abundance out of her garden. There was nothing she wouldn't tackle.  In the evening, dinner was a delicious meal. Many times th...

  10. Ukraine Journalism Club

    I started a journalism club at my school. As a journalist, I thought I knew what I was getting into. But I had to teach the damn thing mostly in another language. In Russian, as a matter of fact. Something I'd overlooked. And it wasn't easy. Eight students showed up to the first meeting. When discussing investigative journalism I told them anything that doesn’t piss someone off isn’t worth writing. Then I tried saying – in Russian – “You’ve got to light a fire under their ass.” Unfortunatel...

  11. Ukraine Skvazniak

    Last summer, in the August heat, I was on a bus with two other volunteers on our way to visit our friend in Novaazovsk. People were packed into this bus like sardines in a can, many standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the aisle way. The three of us occupied most of the rear bench seat. The temperature outside was somewhere near 40 degrees, putting the temperature on the bus somewhere near an unbearable 43 degrees. The trip would take about five hours. The minimal free-flowing air on the bus cam...

  12. Ukraine Celebrating freedom a backbreaker

    Monday, September 24, 2001 By Christie Appelhanz SELESHCHINA, Ukraine -- The fall of the Soviet Union changed the way the world works from Beijing to the Beltway. It didn't, however, change the way Luda works in this quiet village of 5,000, where the cows still walk down the main street unescorted every morning to graze. Well, maybe things are a little worse, she says, since they lifted price controls and the cost of food soared. Luda survived the economic collapse of the ...

  13. Ukraine Angel Tree

    This about a project we did at Christmas time called "Angel Tree"  It went like this: Peace Corps Volunteers and our University Students went to local orphanages and had kids write down gifts that they wanted on paper angles.  Many of the kids asked for gifts that were far to expensive, such as bikes, Playstations and cell phones (some specified models).  One boy actually asked for a Rolex.  Then we put the paper angels on a tree outside a mall and asked people to take an angel ...

  14. Ukraine September 11th Across the Ocean

    The word for terrorist sounds the same in the three languages of my daily life -- English, Russian and Ukrainian. But I didn't want to write about the attacks on America in any language. There has been enough in the news, I wrote to one friend. I am in Ukraine, what do I know, I e-mailed another. The truth? I was scared I couldn't find the right words. Turns out, I didn't have to. A little girl in the fifth form at School Number 37 in Poltava found them for me. As we flipped though a copy o...

  15. Ukraine Ukrainian Marriage Agencies

      When my Ukrainian girlfriend broke up with me I wasn't thrilled, but I wasn't that surprised either, the relationship was stalled and I knew it was going to end eventually. That she broke up with me did come as a surprise to people back in America who seemed convinced that Ukrainian women would want to marry me for a ride back into America.  They didn't.  Girls there wanted the same thing they wanted from me in America, which was friendship.  The somewhat aggravating result was that most o...

  16. Ukraine Meeting My Host Family

      Within my first six months in Ukraine I lived with threedifferent host families. They were all great and really helped me to get adjusted to life in Ukraine. However that doesn't mean it was always easy to live with them, often it wasn't. I particularly remember when I got to my training site of Rokytne; a town of 15,000 people, three hours south of Kyiv; I was unsure if I'd be able to handle living with my first host family. There was my first impression of four members of that family...



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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.