When it comes to small towns in Ukraine where volunteers live - Harkushyntsi may not be the smallest (go go Kym in her 287 person village right outside of Sad, Ukraine... no joke), but I would assume I'm pretty up there. My quaint little village houses 1,200 people, three stores, one actual bus stop, one discotek, a library, a park, a school, of course a golden statue of Lenin, and I think that's about it. But I kind of like it...
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|my community map I had to turn into Peace Corps and Mr. Statue in the center of town|
Now I know of volunteers that live in huge Oblast centers with populations in the hundreds of thousands and I think that's great (because I'll come visit them and stay there for free), however I'm excited that I will basically get to know and recognize everyone in my village by the end of two years (in theory).
The mentality of the village I feel is also very different - and that's really why a lot of volunteers, including myself, joined the Peace Corps was to live and experience a new culture and way of life and to hopefully learn from it.
So I'm sure y'all are wondering what a little Ukrainian countryside home is like - well you're in luck, today I awkwardly stood outside and videoed my home, both inside and out (I had some neighbors stare at me... you're welcome).
The house is actually really nice. While the TV only gets I think five channels (that repeat over twenty channels), I now rely heavily on podcasts to get my US, and world news (in English). My new "host" father basically has renovated everything over the years with his son. I will say most Ukrainian countryside homes aren't this nice. They've been really great with trying to incorporate me into meals and family/neighborhood events - which was the main reason I wanted to live with a home stay. And it's not like you're locked into the housing by any means, volunteers are welcome to move if they so choose. So who knows, maybe a year from now I'll move into an apartment by myself. However as of now, I'm happy where I'm at.
I managed to install internet in my home as well! And when I say I, I mean my host father. He told me the options available and called who needed to be called. I had to purchase a pretty expensive modem however it was the main thing I really wanted so I'm glad my host family let the internet guy drill a hole in their wall for the ethernet cord.
The school I work at is a place I also think I'll enjoy. It's a specialized English school meaning the students receive I believe five english lessons a week over the normal two. I even get my own office that overlooks the countryside. The five English teaches (one is my Counterpart) and students I've met so far seem really excited to have me.
|the original school and main entrance to the school to the current school|
the first few days I received way too many flowers
I've only taken a few shots of the village so far. Obviously there isn't a lot but I managed to encounter a very large sunflower field which I was pretty stoked about.
I decided to, and realize after the fact, make a really awkward video of the fields
cool video of Ukrainian sunflower fields - apologies for the awkward middle school music