Friday, September 27, 2013

September 2013

“Tis the last rose of summer . . .”?

Perhaps. But that does not diminish the work of the Mennonite Centre in Molochansk. The weather in the last few days is serving notice that the hot, dry summer is nearing an end. A recent rain has been much anticipated by the farmers as they wait for moisture before seeding their winter wheat. Harvesting has been mostly completed with the exception of a few sunflower fields. However, the crops have been generally quite poor in this area. Even garden produce such as tomatoes have not done well this summer while the grapes on the drive-way arbors seem to be abundant. Small rural villages like Dolina (formerly Schoenau) struggle as their school closes and other services are threatened.

Our first week in Ukraine coincided with several communities celebrating the 70th anniversary of their liberation from German occupation during World War II. The battles in this area were brutal and so we find it understandable why the communities are keen to commemorate their victories. While militarism is not something we wish to endorse or promote, these celebrations do give opportunity to commend and encourage community development and confidence. The Mennonite Centre has supported and funded numerous projects in our local communities and so we are the fortunate beneficiaries of their words and expressions of gratitude. This was also the case when we delivered a new computer to the Tokmak blood donor clinic which had recently received a new autoclave (sterilizing unit) from the Centre. These gifts enable the clinic to continue functioning in the city of Tokmak and the surrounding region, employing some 62 professionals. We have often lamented the high unemployment rates in these rural communities, wondering how the Centre can facilitate employment. Perhaps with gifts such as the above we are not only facilitating health care, but also preventing further unemployment, at least for these professionals.

We also received a visit from a German historian interested in the life of Dr. Tavonius, well-loved doctor in the Muntau hospital in the early 20th century (presently Molochansk). Many Mennonites in the Molotschna Colony were helped by his expertise, skill and compassion. A published German interview with his grandson, now living in Germany, has been forwarded to us. I could forward this article if anyone has a particular interest in it. More frequent than visits from historians, however, are the numerous requests for assistance that come to the Centre from individuals as well as institutions. Any assistance we can offer is always gratefully received.

Donations to the Mennonite Centre may be directed to “Friends of the Mennonite Centre” c/o George Dyck 3675 N Service Rd Beamsville, Ontario L0R 1B1

No comments: