Vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Adam Martynyuk, nearly choked out deputy Oleg Lyashko during a session in the chamber of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev this past Wednesday. According to reports, Lyashko had asked Martynyuk to let him make a speech, which Martinyuk refused to do on procedural grounds. Lyashko then apparently called Martynyuk a Pharisee (oh snap!), at which point it was on.
Ukrainian Parliament has a history of such shenanigans. This past December, six lawmakers were sent to the hospital after a fight that included fists and chairs being thrown. In that case, supporters of former premier Yulia Tymoshenko had spent most the day blocking legislation by protesting a corruption probe against her. And in April of last year, after voting to extend Russia’s Black Sea fleet lease, members opposing the deal heaved eggs and smoke bombs at supporting lawmakers, who shielded themselves with umbrellas. Here’s a link to the videos.
This report from The Bureau for International Reporting does a good job of explaining the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. And it is an epidemic. Nowhere in Europe does HIV spread quicker than in Ukraine.
As a Peace Corps volunteer working in youth development, part of my job entails teaching about HIV/AIDS to Ukrainian youth. I’ve done so at summer camps and in schools, and I’ve received training to do so from Peace Corps staff and health experts.
Student and community volunteers, as well as myself and members from our newly formed NGO, Green Grass, got together last Sunday morning to clean the banks of Artemovsk’s North Pond. The event was the first for Green Grass, but – we hope – not the last.
In all, about 35 people attended the cleaning event. With gloves and trash bags provided by Remondis, an Artemovsk waste company, volunteers worked for nearly four hours to pick up discarded glass, plastic and more.
Local media came out to cover the event. One news outlet, Donbass Gazette, published a short piece this week about our efforts at the lake.
Translated excerpt from the story:
Youth group Donetsk – that’s us! and public organization GreenGrass, long associated with city residents to share creative and unusual flash mobs, attracted concerned and socially active girls and guys. And about two dozen activists, as well as Peace Corps volunteers from the United States and Italy, working in the city, all Sunday morning were at the lake.
“Ukraine is a beautiful country. But I see a lot of garbage. People generally understand the problem, but, unfortunately, still do not feel the motivation for action. I am pleased that young people have come here today to make sure a small piece of nature is cleaner and prettier. I am pleased to take part in such events in America and in Ukraine,” said volunteer Chris Miller.
A man butchers a Christmas carp in Prague. Photo taken by BriAnne Wills (briannewills.blogspot.com).
1. I’ve eaten my fair share of carp in Ukraine. Fried, boiled, flattened and salted – you name it, I’ve eaten it.
2. I didn’t want to watch it be clubbed and butchered in the town square, and then carry it on the tram back to Bri’s apartment.
3. Purchasing it alive and keeping it in the bathtub till it came time to kill and cook it would just be odd. I’ve had carp kept alive in my tub before while living in Ukraine. I never felt fully clean after bathing in that tub from then on. Plus, in this scenario I’d have had to do the clubbing and butchering.
4. If clubbing a carp can make Chuck Norris pass out, there’s a damn good chance I’d do the same. After all, he’s Chuck Norris. Enough said.
My cluster here In Obukhiv wrapped up our two-month training period this week with a meeting with the mayor of the city. Unfortunately, most of my interview was cut, and only a small section, in English, was spliced in. Wish they’d have aired my Russian part. On a positive note, check out the close-up of my hands. Think I’ve got a future in hand modeling?
To celebrate Children’s Rights Day and promote healthy lifestyles, active citizenship and volunteerism amongst young in Ukraine, my cluster organized a summer camp for students of Obukhiv’s School no. 5. We introduced the students to American games, such as Ultimate Frisbee, capture the flag and dodgeball. Also, we taught lessons on civic rights and responsibilities, career planning, volunteerism, health and safety. The four-day camp was successful, thanks in part to the faculty and staff of School no. 5, and a number of non-profit community organizations. Here is a video clip shot by the local news, which highlights the first day of our camp – a day dedicated to sports and recreational activities meant to encourage students to be physically and socially active.