Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Grapes ripening a month earlier this year due to heat and drought
We come to the final days of our term in Ukraine.  Again it has been our privilege to be involved in the venture and adventure known as the "Mennonite Centre." We have enjoyed the beauty and warmth of summer, trees heavily fruit-laden, eating our fill of apricots, pears and early grapes. We keep hoping for rain to alleviate the drought.  Needs are as great as ever and people keep coming for help.  The mayor of a former Mennonite village just south of here told us this week that "the financial situation of this country is catastrophic." This was echoed by the local Fire Marshal this morning who came to request gas money.  Funds to run the fire truck have run dry.

The following are ways that FOMCU has helped in the past 5 weeks. (Five of these projects are in the Zaporozhye area
  • bringing sight to two women by funding cataract surgeries.  One of these women is half blind.
  • continuing to provide optometric care and glasses.  To date 967 pairs of glasses have been dispensed at a cost of $5 each.  These are eye specific and the cost includes frames. 
  • providing hearing aids for a profoundly deaf girl. We previously funded a tutor and Alyona is now able to communicate verbally
  • chemo treatments for a woman who had surgery for colon cancer.  By law medical care is free here but no doctor will provide services without being paid. 
  • medication for a woman being cared for by an orphaned granddaughter
  • medication for a post-op patient being cared for by family. Son-in-law came asking for help.  He is a psychiatrist in Melitopol - not making enough money to cover medical costs for his extended family.  It seemed that he was swallowing a lot of pride in coming the distance to ask, and he wasn't asking for much.  His salary is the equivalent of $250/month. These are cases that really tug at the heart-strings. 
  • MRI for a 9 year old boy
  • large autoclave for the Tokmak Blood Station servicing 7 regions
  • hot water tank for children's hospital  they were without warm water
  • toilet room reno at local hospital
  • fridge for hospital urology dep't.  the old communist era fridge had given out
  • repairing outdoor patient space at local psych hospital - a patient recently stumbled and fractured her leg.
  • printer for psych hospital office staff 
  • replacing exterior doors and 6 windows for a school -  children had been attending classes in 8 degree temperature last winter
  • 10 desks and 20 chairs for an outlying school
  • stair repair at local Sport's School
  • wall repair for local school - windows had been replaced and contractors left holes in the walls
  • radiators for kindergarten in former Mennonite village of Lichtenau - very cold in winter - no government money
  • sending 7 orphans to a young people's camp in Crimea
  • supporting Kutuzovka church children's camp
  • ordering 2 pianos for music schools in this district - in memory of Linda Stobbe
  • floor and ceiling construction costs to restore a historic church building - once Mennonite but now a Greek Catholic worship space. 
  • in addition to all of this the twice weekly Senior's lunches, and doctors clinic
  • Blood Station - 31 staff gathered to greet us when the autoclave arrived.  They were impressed to hear that this was a gift from Canadian donors many having ancestors in this area.  Their gratitude was overwhelming- some were wiping tears.  The autoclave replaces a 20 year old model which should have been disposed of 10 years ago.  The time is crucial because the station is due for government inspection in September and there was risk of closure with attending job losses.   No government money.                             
This outdoor living space of the psychiatric hospital will soon be smoothed over.
The division is home for 57 women.
The interior of the Schönsee church is taking shape.  We told Father Peter that it was our privilege to provide foundation and ceiling materials.  He countered, ". . . and the Holy Spirit works in between."  Amen!

Every project affects the lives of people, often society's most vulnerable.  People come to the Centre with requests and we hear their stories.  Many times they tell us that they have borrowed money, sold what they can and we are their last resort. If these are health-related requests we ask for documentation. If the request involves assistance for repair or restoration we pay a visit.  Our board of directors makes the final decisions.  To safeguard donations, monies are paid through the bank.  We work together with Dema, our Ukrainian manager, who has skills and knowledge and is able to source out good value for the hryvnia.

Again, we express gratitude to all our donors who make the work possible.  It has been our joy to see the results.

If you wish to contribute to the work of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine make your Canadian cheques to "Friends of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine" or "FOMCU." Cheques from American donors should be made out to "MFC-FOMCU". All cheques should be mailed to George Dyck, Treasurer, 3675 North Service Rd, Beamsville, Ontario, Canada - L0R 1B1. Check our website at http://www.mennonitecentre.ca/ for information on credit card donations