When travelling through Ukraine, I took a 5-hour high-speed train ride from Kiev to Kharkiv. The battered Ukraine economy made it possible to upgrade to a first class ticket, which provided me with a little more space and food service, for only $6. It was a quick way to see the countryside from the west to east part of the country which is mostly small villages and farmland. The most interesting thing that I noticed was that almost every village home had a private vegetable garden. Something I feel everyone in the world should have and experience.
During this trip, I watched a commercial that provided some inspiring statistics of Ukraine and its people that most foreigners wouldn’t know. It offered a bounty of information in a short time, so I was happy that it ran a few times during my trip. I was able to locate it on youtube.
The statistics about the Ukraine economy, resources and citizens that made an impression upon me were:
33% of the world’s rich black-earth soil
99.7 literacy rate
4th most educated nation in the world
#1 exporter of sunflower oil globally
Although this commercial was inspiring and offered hope, many of the Ukrainian youth I met were unemployed and forced to live with family due to the poor Ukraine economy. Even though this was the case, many had no desire to leave their motherland. They had a patriotism and unity. One that I lacked and envied. Coming from one of the best countries in the world, Canada, it made be think about why I felt this way about a place that has given me more freedom than the majority of people. Maybe it requires a bad economy and bad times to bring people together to strive for a similar goal of making their homeland a better place. Maybe this is why many have no desire to leave.
In reflection, I can now see the real potential of Ukraine. The perception that I had has been reborn, and I believe that the youth will lead this country to a prosperous time in the future. It does have a long way to go, but it’s always the start that’s the hardest requiring a clear vision and good leadership.
Thank you Ukraine for opening my eyes.