Posted by: Heather Fabrikant, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer
Monday morning arrived and I was thrilled to be taking a trip to visit four of the U.S. embassy’s 29 Window on America centers in Ukraine: in Vinnitsya, Khmelnitsky and Ternopil. I had never been to any of these three oblasts and was excited to see more of Ukraine. Each region of Ukraine is also like a window: shedding light into the complex and beautiful Ukrainian country and people. Our Window on America program in Ukraine is a network of centers co-located in Ukrainian libraries where Ukrainians interested in learning more about the U.S., watching American films, learning English, meeting Americans, or practicing English can come together. For a full list of the centers in Ukraine click here. The following are some of my recollections from the trip.
Babushkas on Bicycles – Travels Through Central/Western Ukraine
As we drove, our van stuffed with books, posters and DVDs to deliver to our Window on America centers, I marveled at how lucky I was to be living in Ukraine and doing such exciting work. On our way to Vinnitsya we passed the beautiful Teteriv River, strewn with dachas, and dotted with yellow sunflowers reaching the horizon. I thought of the sunflower oil made from these golden medallions and sold at outdoor markets. I escaped into the mossy, hanging trees, verdant from the frequent summer rain. I saw babushkas on bicycles overloaded with their bounty. Motorcycles and truckers alike braved the bumpy roads. Cows grazed next to the highway and horses galloped through soccer fields. Tractors wove in and out of the road and ancient trucks emblazoned with “milk” or images of bread flew by. The smell of burning grass wafted into the car and a tile mosaic sign indicated we had entered the Vinnitsya oblast. (more…)