We grand-slammed, dodge-balled, frisbeed, touchdowned, kickballed, and downdogged all week long and the second-annual Mamalyga American Sports camp was a blast! I love that my site lets me host this for our kids and gives me free reign to teach some of my favorite activities. This week was exhausting, but once again is one of my favorite weeks of my time as a volunteer.
This is me leading yoga for the first time ever in a very hot gym!
Late spring early summer in Ukraine is glorious. The weather is often warm and sunny during the day and still cool in the evenings. It seems to be perfect, absolutely perfect for growing all sorts of wonderful fruits and veggies. I have apples and raspberries and grapes growing in my yard. I can’t wait to pick and share them with my friends and colleagues. Food is a language all its own. It is a way for people to show and share connections and love. It creates reasons to get together and share stories and laughter. It is often through food that I know I’m cared about in my new home where I don’t speak the verbal language well. I have had people at work bring me preserves and new friends share veggies from their gardens. These beautiful черешня small sweet cherries are from my colleague’s yard. They were дуже смачно! Very delicious! We welcome each other with food and I sure do feel welcome here in my village. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last week’s Peace Corps training conference was truly inspiring! It was the first time in Peace Corps Ukraine’s history that Ministry-level officials came to speak (and listen!) to Volunteers. More than 20 expert panelists, mostly from here in Ukraine, shared expertise on organizational strategy, sustainability, and efficacy, while putting this information in the context of all the important changes happening now in Ukraine.
Best of all, after hearing all the advice from these experts, I found myself thinking, “Yes! The organization I’m working with is on the right track!” I am excited to share the insights from this conference with my colleagues at @promolod . Y’all are going to do great things! 📷 @kristineannstull .
Lovely Chernihiv! I can’t believe how much this city has developed in just one year. It’s great to see Ukrainian cities invest in public community spaces, and in city infrastructure that increases accessibility and safety. ❤️🇺🇦⛲️
Happy Pride Month 2018! But, why June? 🧐
June is unofficially recognized this year as LGBTQ Pride Month, because of a demonstration that took place in 1969.
The morning of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. Law enforcement could legally justify the raid because Stonewall was serving liquor without a license, but at that time, it wasn’t unusual for police to target gay clubs. What was uncommon is for crowds to fight back.
As officers forced drag queens into a police van, the crowd threw bottles at them. The brawl erupted into a riot, reaching neighboring streets. Police called for backup. Days after the Stonewall Riot, gay, lesbian and bisexual civil rights demonstrations took place in New York. Historically, this was the first major demonstration for homosexual rights.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/why-lgbt-pride-month-june/363261001/ #pride#pridemonth#lgbt#lgbtq #❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 #gad#gadua#gender#peacecorps#peacecorpsukraine#ukraine#humanrights
Last Tuesday I hosted my last English Club. I took the students on a random scavenger hunt through Khotyn, as a way for me to say goodbye to my town and them. We had such a fun time, ending our quest with a picnic next to the fortress. Thanks kiddos for coming to club so often, for participating in class, and welcoming me to your town. I’ll share a few more photos from the day in a second post! #khotyn#khotynfortress#peacecorps#ukraine#peacecorpsukraine#englishclub
(If I didn’t tag you and your in a photo, message me and I’ll fix it!)
I am functionally mute. I kept thinking that by this time in my Peace Corps Service I would have a better handle on the language or I might have found someone who could translate for me. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. My language skills continue to grow but not to a point where I am able to understand or speak at work. At home or in social settings I understand a bit more but I still find it near impossible to find words to speak that allow me to verbalize the thoughts in my head. It is an extraordinary challenge for me, an extrovert. I don’t know what I’m thinking until I say it. That is just how my brain works. I also feel far less than effective at work than I would like but also know that my presence alone helps the community. For example today I was asked to come to a meeting with a group from Lviv that helps families with disabled children. My presence alone in the meeting - even though I don’t understand and can’t participate - lends a credibility to my community. It is a very odd role to play and one I’m learning to become comfortable in. As a female executive in my former life I worked hard to be heard and not just seen. But my role here in Ukraine is exactly reversed. No one really knows what will be the challenges he or she might face as a volunteer. This is one of mine. In fact I wrote this post while in the back of a room in a meeting. It is honestly hard to stay alert when I’m unable to understand. I would have never considered it appropriate in The States but here it does help me reflect. When the horse carts like this are parked at the store just waiting for their driver to come back out they seem to somehow show the same disconnect I do when I don’t understand the swirl of language around me.
Friends, family, people of the internet!! This is my last request for donations for Camp TORCH!! We had 300 kids apply for 40 spots but we are not fully funded yet! We have one more week to raise about 500$. 10$ can help these kids learn about diversity and their rights! If you have a real job or want to get some money back on your tax return please help us out! https://www.peacecorps.gov/donate/projects/camp-torch-2018-pp-18-343-009/
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