Buildings, like their people, worn by war and long winters. A city of contrasts.
These are a people who, in just the past year, have risen up and overthrown a government of extreme corruption and violence. People who, in this lifetime, have survived starvation and genocide by Russian forces – even mass killing by their own government – and still fight for their land. In stark contrast to our Statue of Liberty who holds a book and torch of light, it is fitting that the Iron Lady of Kiev looks out over her people holding a sword and a shield.
Commitment and hard work are more extreme here than we will ever have to know. We may believe we work hard, and yet, 24-48 hour shifts are the standard here — the opposite of extreme self care. And many people work like this to make a total of $200 USD a month, sharing a 500 sq foot apartment with two generations.
I am amazed by the beauty I see here too. The soil, of all things, is very fertile and rich — it is darker then I’ve ever seen soil be so the food they do produce (beets and root veggies especially) is something to behold. Women and men take great pride in appearances and are a very handsome people. And while they rarely smile, there is something about their eyes – enchanting. I never quite figured it out. Perhaps it is the hardship and how it forges the soul.
моє серце до твого, Київ. Дякую.