Ukraine - Delegation in Sebastopol
A delegation from Ukraine is in Sebastopol for two weeks. They are sponsored by Open World, a program that brings people from former Soviet and developing nations to the US for a deep dive into government and a variety of study topics. The local host organization is our own Sebastopol World Friends. The delegation's focus on this trip is child and family counseling networks.There are six delegates, from a variety of locations in Ukraine. Two were from our Sebastopol Sister City Chyhyryn.
Read the Sebastopol Times Article here.
I had the pleasure of welcoming them to City Hall a few days after they arrived, and I also attended the Community Welcome event at Sebastopol Grange on Friday February 2nd. Tuesday the 6th they will be at our City Council meeting. On Saturday the 10th they fly back home. Monday morning the 5th of February I had an amazing video interview with the Mayor of Chyhyryn. This was a first for us - it was amazing to sit at the Sebastopol Co-Work Space at 7am this morning and speak to the Mayor of Chyhyryn...at 5pm his time...over 6000 miles away. What an amazing world.
Translators? I am now a fan. I thought it would be really awkward communicating through interpreters. These people made it easy (and fun!).
What else is on their itinerary? Well...remember to breath as you read through this amazing list: Over the course of the two weeks they will have visited the Fire Department, the Police Department, Forget Me Not Farm, Two Acre Wood, the Enmanji Buddhist Temple, Parkside School, the Senior Center, Child Parent Institute, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, TLC Child and Family Services, West County Health Centers, the Sonoma County Office of Education, Armstrong Redwoods and the Coast, San Francisco and had lunch with the Ukrainian Consul, the State Capital in Sacramento, and of course Sebastopol City Hall. They will have attended a Sebastopol City Council meeting, done job shadows, and met with Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Congressman Jared Huffman, Senator Mike McGuire.
My primary take-away: (1) the people of a place are what makes it strong, (2) hope truly does spring eternal against all odds, (3) shared human cares and values outweigh everything that might divide us - distance, differing politics, spoken language that feels indecipherable, dress and culture and food and architecture (etc, etc) that feels so foreign, and (4) a face to face contact no matter how brief makes all barriers fall away, and really makes us see that we are (at heart and truly) part of "one world."
Click on the title to this article for more photos.