Eastern Rinok Training, Football, and One Goal Achieved

November has flown by at a rapid pace. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is a quick week away. It seems like ages ago that I was departing Pre-Service Training with promises of “we’ll see each other at Thanksgiving!” (Luckily, I’ve already seen all of my clustermates at least once).

What have been I up to lately?

Eastern Rinok & Chernigov Training:

I’ve written several posts already about Eastern Rinok  (here is the main one), but I am really excited and passionate about this project. Plus, it’s a big time for us: due to shipping times (7-21 days from Ukraine to the U.S.), the Eastern Rinok holiday shopping season is now! If you are interested in purchasing from our artisans and giving fantastic handmade gifts this season, but you still have questions, check out this informational brochure I created: http://easternrinok.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/eastern-rinok-holiday-guide-2013.pdf

Other exciting things have been happening with the project. In November, two Volunteers organized a special group training: 8 Volunteers and 8 Ukrainian counterparts were trained on Eastern Rinok. Hopefully, we’ll see a big increase in artisans in the near future.


Eastern Rinok Training of the Trainers

The training was hosted in Chernigov, so I was lucky enough to visit my host family. Going back to my training village feels like going home. As soon as I step off the bus, I feel a sense of excitement and of gratitude. There are 76 different Peace Corps countries that I could have gotten sent to; I ended up in a place where people have welcomed me with open arms.


I’ll admit: the only time I have ever really watched football (soccer) on TV was when the U.S. team did well in one of the more recent World Cup tournaments (I’m not sure of the year, in case you needed further proof of my general lack of awareness). I’m happy to watch a live match, but it’s just not a sport that I have ever followed closely.

However, Tuesday night will go down as a memorable moment in my Peace Corps experience. Ukraine lost badly in a match with France and will not play in the next World Cup. Nevermind the match and the end result: what was incredible, to me, was the buzz of excitement and national pride in the pub where we watched the game.

The majority of patrons were men in their 20s – 40s. When the Ukrainian national anthem was playing on TV, most everyone got up and sang along. It was one of those ‘goose bumps’ moments where I realized I was in exactly the right place, at the right time. In a country long torn apart by war, starvation, and oppression, there was a real sense of unity in the room. It was beautiful.

And, after Ukraine lost the match (0-3), the entire pub stood up and clapped for their team. Now THAT’s pride in your people and players.

One Bucket List Item Down!

I was able to cross an item off my Ukrainian Bucket List this week: I can finally touch my toes! This was a general fitness goal that I decided to pursue while here. I’ve been really making an effort to stretch after running, and it has paid off!

Of course, now that I crossed off one item, I will add a few more :)

Happy to take any comments!
  1. Kelli says:

    Can I touch your toes, too?