As the first installment of the Local Colour speaker series, hosted by the Friends of the Mary C. Moore Public Library, Lacombian Warren Kreway shared his experience of traveling to the Ukraine to a group gathered at the LMC on Oct. 22nd.
Kreway began his address stating that visiting the Ukraine was like going back in time.
“When I was a young man, I always wondered what it would be like to live in the past,” he said. “Life is more simple. I want to show you what the Ukraine is actually like.”
Kreway visited the Ukraine, the country of his heritage, for one month in May 2014.
He was part of a group of doctors traveling to the country on behalf of Medical Mercy Canada. The group visited several villages and while the doctors gave out medical supplies and assistance, Kreway found his place on the trip – working with youth and students at schools.
Kreway explained that in the Ukraine, there is a generational struggle.
“It’s a very old country with old values. After generations and generations of living in this country, the younger generation is trying to change and modernize, but the parents hang on to their old values. They are struggling to educate their children and the kids are realizing they want to come up to modern standards.”
He also noticed that although the students had ambition and will to change their lives, they lacked educational supplies, in particular sporting equipment. Kreway also began a flag signing project on his trip, with students signing two Ukrainian flags to be brought back to Canada. He first thought he would bring the signed flags back to Lacombe, “But then I thought it needs to go a little bit further,” he added.
The flags were presented to the Wolf Creek Public Schools board, in acknowledgement of linking the two countries together. The gift was then returned to the Ukraine this year, when one of the doctors Kreway first traveled with delivered Canadian flags signed by 300 local students, dignitaries and mayors. Since then, a pen pal program has also been launched between the students in the two countries.
“It’s all about the kids,” said Kreway of the Ukraine projects he has launched in Lacombe. “It is an incredible passion to see the joy in their eyes when you give them the chance to reach out of themselves to a different culture and a different country.”