Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We walk the streets of Molochansk and ask ourselves some questions. Has anything changed since we were here last, 15 months ago? As we dodge the potholes and large concrete blocks covering sewer openings we notice that roads have deteriorated further.  Cars weave from one side of the road to the other to avoid obstructions.  We see that two of three service stations in town are now abandoned. We are told that these two had tried to undercut the price of the state gas station by watering down the gas. They haven't survived. There are still cars on the road indicating that some people have jobs. We arrive at the main street and pop into some of the little stores.  Prices on almost everything have risen considerably.  According to World Bank figures, since the economic downturn in 2008, the Ukraine hryvnia  has lost about 40% of its value against the US dollar. Understandably this is having a devastating effect particularly on seniors and the unemployed. The good news is that Ukraine is expecting a very good grain harvest this year which could help stabilize prices.

Looking across the street and seeing the town duck pond, reminds us of our Mennonite past.  As we wander around it, we muse and wonder what it may have looked like then - a hundred years ago or more. Was it a gathering place?  Might it have been a place for a romantic tryst? Situated in the centre of town and lined with poplars to the west, it still holds charm. A year ago the townspeople planted more than 100 trees around its perimeter; only a few hardy ones survive.

We continue our walk, turning the corner toward home. Soon we come across the backyard of the Mennonite Centre.  We hear children's excited voices and as we come closer we see many children, young and older, playing games.  This is the regular Sunday afternoon Sunday School run by the Kutuzovka Mennonite Church.  We offer use of the building and yard enabling many town children to attend - we counted more than 30.

Just before we turn another corner toward our apartment building, half-hidden in the trees, is another remnant of Mennonite times. One hundred years ago this ornate gate would have been an entrance to a wealthy Mennonite home or estate. Its sturdiness has withstood the elements, also attempts to tear it down in order to reuse the bricks. Again our imagination gets going.

Along the route today we've passed many other gates, all of them hanging with this season's abundance, delicious mouth-watering grapes. The richness of the soil has produced another plentiful harvest, enabling people to survive. We've been grateful beneficiaries of this bounty. Again this week people with various needs have come through our gate asking for assistance. Together with Dema, our Ukrainian director, and our board of  directors we discern how best to respond. Through the generosity of our donors we have the joy of offering hope to many. Thank you!

If you wish to contribute to the work of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine make your Canadian cheques to "Friends of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine" or "FOMCU".  Cheques from American donors should be made out to "MFC-FOMCU".  All cheques should be mailed to George Dyck, Treasurer,  3675 North Service Rd.  Beamsville Ontario, Canada  L0R 1B1  Check our website at for information on credit card giving.

1 comment:


Hi! So nice to read your blogs! Having been there but for a few hours, we can visualize as you walk. We remember you often! It's lunch time here in Petitcodiac...and we have essentially run poiut of work! We hope a shipment arrives early this aft or we'll have an unintended holiday! This weekend, we've decided to head into Halifax (Pier 21 and more)and environs for a two-day adventure. Next week we're off to PEI. So, we're getting into the thick of it. We've been away from home for a month now - 25% of our extended eastern Canada experience! Time flies. What decision did you reach re the university student matter? Grace to you each day! Bye for now. Dan