Tuesday, March 16, 2004


So I found out today that I am being assigned to Southern Ukraine. I was hoping that I would end up in Kiev. Peace Corps was trying to get me into an animation studio, which I would have loved. But it turned out there were political concerns about my involvement with a state run propaganda mill.

BUT, the place that I am going sounds a great city in a great part of the country. And I will I'll be working with a school that has some specialties that I am interested in. That could be very exciting.

This Saturday I take an 11 hour train ride to meet my new host family. I'll stay with them for 4 days to see the city and meet the people.

A couple of friends will be close so I will be able to easily visit them on day trips. And because this city is between Crimea and Odessa, I will be able to hit both places pretty easily.

Crimea is a resort area and, I am told, a great place to be assigned. But it is expensive to live so being close enough to run in for a day or weekend is probably best.

This morning we had an American give a seminar about the realities of Ukraine business practices. It was a blunt assessment of the corruption and other business oddities of this country. Evidently the 100 years or so of Soviet rule created an incredibly distorted view of how to do business and it is going to take a while to finally purge those ingrained assumptions from the system.

People manage by fear. And intimidation. And criticism. They don't know any other way. And of course it leads to employees who not only don't care about their job but don't trust their bosses, companies or co-workers.

Anyway, another milestone passed. I have 6 weeks left in B and then I move on. I'm starting to enjoy this town and going to miss the people I've met so far.

Don't know when I'll get to send this. We are at a soviet-era workers resort, which is a cinderblock building with the charm and luxury of a upper-class gulag. We do have a lake in the back with a beach that we can walk. It's about 50 feet long. And we are in the woods so in spite of the limited accommodations it is a nice area.

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