Thursday, May 31, 2007
Walking the City
It seemed as though we nearly covered the entire city walking today. Well, perhaps not the entire city. It was a beautiful day. We started out in the market, shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables and learning how to purchase market items. I'm continuing to learn the nuances of Ukrainian culture. Married women, I have learned, wear their wedding rings on the right hand. Always a simple gold band. Having left my wedding ring at home with Travis, I was happy to finally find a ring in the market that will serve for the summer.
The fresh fruits and vegetables at the market are amazing. Ukrainians absolutely love cherries, so there is an abundance of cherries everywhere. Cucumbers and tomatoes are also a basic staple of the summer, as well as LOTS of fresh herbs (dill, basil, and parsley especially).
After the market, we spent our time observing the business camp teams. It was interesting to see how each approached operating the business they had created. It was somewhat heartbreaking to see in some cases hard effort not fully rewarded, but such cases also provided an opportunity for the students to learn the importance of perseverance and ongoing assessment in operating a business.
As we begin to settle into life in Zaporozhye and work with Hope International, I am reminded of how fortunate and blessed I am to be here, working with an organization that I consider to be outstanding and in an area of hardship. I've seen glimpses of what this life means for those who are in it long term. I know that it is far from perfect or as romantic as it initially seems. It is a difficult life that requires much sacrifice. But it is a rewarding life that enables you to use what you have to change the lifes of those on the margins. No, these workers do not "change the world" in the strictest sense of the term, but they change the world for thousands of lives. And slowly, they are helping to change the world for a country. That is well worth the sacrifice.