The opinions expressed below are mine, and do not reflect that of peace corps or America or anyone else for that matter.
The question is no longer, “hi Jakleen, are you freezing?” The most common greeting is now “hi Jakleen, have you heard what’s happening in maidan?”
I have not been in Zoziv since bffitwww Kate from America was visiting Zoziv for the week of Jan 6. The past couple weeks I’ve been on the road – first with aforementioned bffitwww Kate to Lviv, and then in back to back trainings from peace corps, followed most recently by a weekend seminar at cluster-mate johns with the Borova 5 in the northernmost village of Ukraine. The first, a grant-review committee and secondly, a week of Ukrainian
language refreshing in the region north of Kiev. I passed through Kiev before the violence began and most recently yesterday on my way back to Zoziv.
At Johns in seminivka, (in between working of course) the Borova 5 enjoyed Ukrainian hospitality at its best with a classic Banya experience, lots of food, watching ukrainian men and suzie dip in the river that they used a chainsaw to make a hole in the ice (as if merely living in Ukraine isn’t tough enough?!), and a little dancing.
I am finally returning to home sweet home Zoziv. I don’t feel endangered, and rest assured, I do not feel compelled to join the ranks on the front lines of the revolution.
The violence and activists are contained to only the central administration in each regions center. Otherwise, the only noticeable change is that everyone is talking about it, and is unsure of what the future holds.
It is obvious that current president victor yanukovich will not be relinquishing his power willingly, though it seems that at this point the only way to remedy the situation is to immediately hold elections (elections are currently not planned until 2015).
What does this mean for pcvs?
We are currently in a “stand fast” state which means we are to remain at our sites until further notice. This is a way for peace corps to account for our whereabouts. In the meantime we are also instructed to inventory our belongings in the case of an evacuation.
To be clear, I do not foresee a country wide evacuation in the near future. There are still many steps leading up to this point, including consolidating at a nearby pcvs site with other pcvs in my region. As well, the evacuation, were it to happen, would be to a nearby country.
So as much as I would love to be in that California sunshine, it is not even close to being a possibility for now.
I am in good hands, both in terms of a trusty peace corps staff supporting us, and in terms of the calm quaint village of Zoziv insulating me from the outside world.
Just in case, you can call me directly (and i encourage you to!) on my Ukrainian phone # at: 380-67-458-1518