1991. Ukraine gains independance after the dissolution of the USSR.
47 million. approximate population of Ukraine, as of 2006.
66. estimated life expectancy at birth, as of 2004.
7,000. annual number of deaths of children under the age of 5.
100,000. estimated number of street children within Ukraine.
29% of Ukrainians living below the poverty line, as of 1999.
20% of Ukrainian women who regularly face domestic abuse.
62,000. number of children found in residential institutions throughout Ukraine.
2004. year of the 'Orange Revolution,' in hopes of political and economical reform of the Ukrainian government.
487. number of HIV testing and counselling sites within Ukraine.
53,000. total number of Ukrainians in need of antiretroviral therapy (related to HIV) in 2005, according to the World Health Organization.
200,000. number of women over the age of 15 living with HIV, as of 2005.
Carly (aka, my darling sister) sent me a birthday card a few weeks ago... in Українська! I didn't know she was multi-lingual, but the Ukrainian content was courtesy of her Faulkner teammate, Maryna. Car was strict - she wouldn't (and still won't!) tell me what the Ukrainian message said; I have to translate it all on my own. Sneaky, eh!?
So far I've only gotten four (tres important) words: "Happy Birthday, Jen!" (obviously... it's a birthday card, after all) as well as the word "Ukraine."
I'm basically learning the Українська alphabet as I go along... and at this rate, I'll be turning 23 by the time I translate the rest of the card!
I feel guilty for not posting something incredibly informative or thought provoking as of late. 'Overwhelmed' feels like an understatement right now - my to do list is a monster that has taken on a life of its own. As soon as I am satisfied by crossing off one or two items, four or five seem to spring up out of nowhere in their place. Aaak.
[Insert Joanne's start of term advice here: "It is okay to be frustrated. It is through frustration, that we learn..." And boy, am I ever learning!]
Some bits and pieces:
- Sure, I'm fairly chatty. But in front of a church congregation? I totally froze during my initial presentation at my fundraiser. I literally stood at the podium, smiling. Smiling goofily at a lot of people for a few minutes. Just hanging out. At the podium. And managed to squeak through the presentation and recover with a speech prepared once the movie was over. My in-class presentation wasn't quite so awkward. Let's hope that I'll eventually get better at this part.
- My passport has been renewed. One less thing to do!
- Current Ukrainian anxieties: the food, language and communication barriers, loneliness and isolation, potentially feeling like I'm useless at the orphanage?
- I've been trying to do background research on the Internat where I will be volunteering. So far - not much luck! I have so many questions - ...how do the girls end up at the Internat? How long have they been there for? What happens when they are no longer considered 'children,' where do they go? Are they able to be adopted? Are they a part of the education system? Why do orphanages seem to be common in Eastern Europe?
- This semester has been one of my most difficult while at UW... My concentration and efforts in other classes have been slip-sliding lower and lower as I've put most of my time and energy into preparations and plans related to Beyond Borders. Next time you see me, please remind me to focus... ? ['Dyakuju!]
here I am, showcasing my limited PowerPoint skills (eek!)... this presentation was shown at the Fireproof fundraiser last Friday night. It's basically a (very) brief explanation of what I will be doing this summer while in Ukraine, and the basics of Beyond Borders. enjoy.
On Friday night, I was literally STUNNED by the generosity of those who attended my movie night in York.
Thanks to all of you - I have surpassed my fundraising goals! I am incredibly honoured to be on the recieving end of an amazing amount of support and encouragement.
Thank you very, very much!