Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Day after day we keep being challenged by people around us who are able to do much with very little.  Many of the things we take so much for granted at home either don't work here or are in deplorable condition. For instance, having constant running water is a luxury reserved for those who have their own wells. Last week without warning the water went off, fortunately we had a little stored away, but not much.  Next day we get up - still no water.  We look out and see people on the street hauling large containers of water.  All Molochansk is without water. We better get to the store fast before the supply runs out. By afternoon the water is back - twenty-four hours; not so bad after all.

For the past few months the water at the Centre has been more off than on.  We're amazed that our staff does what they do under these circumstnces, keeping the place clean, cooking for seniors and guests with hardly a complaint. The good news is that a well is in the planning for the next year.
Ira washing dishes with very little water

Despite water shortages wonderful things come out of the kitchen. This morning Ira surprised us.  She said she just cleared her fridge of leftovers and "voila" a cake. A gift to the staff - it tasted even better than it looked. Ira puts on a brave front but she is in mourning having recently lost her husband.  We try to be supportive as best we can.

Recently we've become acquainted with two young entrepreneurs. Last year Denis and Vitaly started a business digging wells and fixing doors.  This year they are branching out into farming. With the aid of a small loan they've leased two hectares of land and have planted strawberries and garlic.

Several weeks ago they took us out of town to show us their accomplish-ment.  We saw the huge field of seven thousand strawberry plants, planted in raised, plastic-covered rows, with drip irrigation in place. To maintain and assure watering they have dug a well 36 metres deep yielding fresh clean water. So far they've planted half an hectare and next year they hope to do the rest. One hectare is almost 2 1/2 acres. They plan to do all the berry picking themselves - strawberries fetch a good price in spring.

We applaud and encourage these enterprising young people for undertaking such a project. In this part of Ukraine it is rare to see men taking initiative and being willing to work hard. Perhaps these men and their families can be an inspiration.

Denis' wife Svieta is another example of a hard worker.  For the past several days she has been busy scraping the plaster off the walls and replastering the kitchen below our apartment.  The Centre owns this studio apartment and has made it available to Lilia, a missionary from Germany who is responsible for the senior's home at the church.  This kitchen was in very poor shape, rotting cupboards and mildewed walls.

When the cupboards were moved out a mouse "graveyard" was laid bare. Again we see young people willing to do hard dirty work. Svieta is more than grateful for her reward - she can have the old cupboards  - Denis will restore them to use in their little home that doesn't yet have indoor plumbing.

Two formidable females arriving at church in style!

On Sunday we had another opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving. The Bolkovoya Mennonite Church, situated no more than a kilometre from Ruekenau, the location of the first MB church, invited our congregation as well as others to join them for this service. Their creative display symbolized the life-
giving fruits of the soil and their toil, truly what keeps these villages going.  For 2 1/2 hours people sang, spoke and recited their gratitude. Then this twenty member congregation hosted over a hundred of us for dinner!

As I prepare to post this blog the water has gone off again.

Our ongoing gratitude to the donors that make the work of the Mennonite Centre possible.

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.

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