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Interview with a Ukranian living in Sayulita... from Sayulita Life

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Interview with a Ukranian living in Sayulita... from Sayulita Life Empty Interview with a Ukranian living in Sayulita... from Sayulita Life

Post by ferret Tue Mar 08, 2022 10:16 am


Hola Sayuleros,

As many of us follow the tragic conflict in Ukraine, Sayulita Life wanted to recognize one of our own longtime Sayulita residents from Ukraine who is currently living in Sayulita and has run an incredible local business (Sana Spices) here for many years.

Kerry and I have known Oksana for a long time and are huge fans of her spices. We were very grateful when she agreed to a quick interview and hope our readers find it interesting and perhaps somewhat soothing as we all grapple with the senseless atrocities being committed upon the Ukrainian people.

Our hearts and prayers are with you and your loved ones Oksana.

Ian, Kerry and the entire Sayulita Life Team.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from in Ukraine? Your town and life there?
I was born right when the dissolution of the Soviet Union happened. I still remember the moment when my mom showed me the new Ukrainian currency, hryvnia. My hometown is Sokal, 30 minute drive from the Polish border. It is a small town, with 20000 registered citizens. It is 645 years old. It was Austrian, Polish, Soviet Union and then Ukrainian territory throughout history. We still have a piece of our family house nearby. You can see the graved 1939 date over the doors. Because of WWII, part of my family emigrated to Poland and Canada. Because of the hard economic situation in Ukraine, many moved to different countries in the world.

When I started school, we had Russian language class for a year and some of the books had no Ukrainian translations yet. We were studying in Ukrainian, while reading some literature in Russian. Ukraine was reborn and there were not so many tv shows or movies either. We were mainly watching Polish TV and listening to Polish radio. It helped me a lot later when I went to study in Poland. Our school
would organize student exchange with Germany allowing kids to experience life in another country. I can see how traveling can help you to open your mind and do things better at home.

My family always had huge pieces of land, where we grew all we ate. My grandfather's grinder to make flour is still in the house. I grew up very close to nature. When I finished school, at 17, I had a strong wish to travel so I left Ukraine and moved to Poland. From there, the world was much closer and I just went on. Cooking together with friends from all over the world brought me to what I do now.

How did you hear about Sayulita and what brought you to the village? When did you first arrive in Sayulita?
My Polish friend Izabela whom I met while studying in Turkey had an idea to meet in Mexico in 2012, so I came to pick her up to continue our travels. We are both still here.

How has your life changed since moving to Sayulita?
Sayulita let me live the life I love. I never had a strict plan about my life. I like to go with the flow and do best in any given circumstances. I like that we have very relaxed summers that we can spend harvesting.

Do you still have family in Ukraine?
I have a lot of family and friends who stayed in Ukraine. I talk to them daily these past few days. During my travels, I would always return to Ukraine for some time: to visit family and friends, eat everything on the list of my favorite foods and go get new books at my favorite bookstore. We would always go mushroom picking, camping and foraging with my family in the summer. I have created my business to be very tied with my family and the need to travel.

How are your friends and family dealing with this situation in Ukraine?
Many Ukrainian friends from school that stayed to live in Poland are currently helping people in Ukraine to escape the Russian army attack and support Ukrainian forces. They are lacking of bullet-proof vests, sleeping bags, medicinal aid. We are working very closely with them. My cousin is hosting refuges and my grandma is baking buns for them. Thanks to the residents of Sayulita and nearby towns, we have gathered and sent our first donations to the City of Goodness (www.misto-dobra.com.ua). They are helping mothers and children and are preparing meals for the Ukrainian defenders and for elderly people that couldn't leave. We are looking forward to sending our next donation soon. If you would like to help you can donate directly on their website through PayPal or come to our store.

Based on Ukraine’s history with Russia, did you ever think that the situation would escalate this far?
With many black chapters in the history of Soviet Ukraine and the Soviet Union in general, Ukrainian rejection of Russian connection is very understandable to me. I grew up hearing stories about war and Holocaust from my grandparents. I saw the fast development of Western Ukraine leaning towards Europe comparing to the East part of Ukraine that is close to Russia.

I could never imagine that there will be war though. It has been a horrible 8 years since it began at the Russian border and now it is all over Ukraine. I could never imagine that my friends and family would have to pack and flea the country not knowing if they will ever return. I could never think that my grandma will see war again! It must be unbearable to feel constant fear of a missile falling near your home. It is beyond horrible. I can not understand how the death of so many people will justify the need of one deluded autocrat to gain more power.

We, the world, must unite and stop this genocide. I stand by Ukraine. Together we are strong. We have to win. Together we will.
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Post by ferret Tue Mar 08, 2022 12:39 pm

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