Autumn in Kyiv

After a few weeks away in Prague and Lutsk, I’m happy to be back in Kyiv – a city that feels more like home every day. It’s interesting how your relationship to a place changes the more time you spend there. First you’re caught up in the newness of it all, then you realise the less glamorous aspects of it, and finally it starts to feel like home – as you start to establish a strong social circle, become a regular at your community market, speak the language, and learn how to efficiently function in the system. Some of the things I most enjoy about living in Kyiv are the bazaars, the plazas which function as places of public gathering (sometimes I feel we lack those in Calgary), the young families who live in my neighbourhood, haphazardly making friends with people and hearing their stories (I find that people in Ukraine never have a shortage of stories to tell), weekend trips to the village with my Ukrainian family (the Pustovoits), and most of all the incredible friends I have made through my work with the YMCA.

As fall arrives we are trying to get our programs off the ground in Kyiv. One of the challenges we face here is access to space. In a city as vast as Kyiv, it’s important to find something central and easily accessible – not to mention free of charge (as our budget is very restricted). This means we have to negotiate for space and work around the schedule’s of others. While I am confident that with our team of dedicated, creative and talented volunteers we will succeed in establishing strong programs, it certainly makes me appreciate what we have in Calgary.

At the moment, we are working out the logistics of starting programs such as floorball, painting, Tensing (music and theatre), and a volunteer program for high-school aged youth. We will keep you updated on these as they develop!

Sending lots of love from Ukraine,


YMCA Kyiv volunteer meeting