Russian invasion anniversary: Moncton Ukrainian community reflects on ‘difficult day’ – New Brunswick
It hasn’t been an easy year for Moncton, New Jersey’s growing Ukrainian community.
“Today is a difficult day for me and for all Ukrainians.
“It gives you all the flashbacks of all the horrible things that happened,” she said.
Hydash has spent many sleepless nights worrying about his family back in Ukraine.
That said, she said she took some comfort in seeing the support shown at the Ukrainian Club’s meetings and fundraising efforts over the past year.
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“We don’t have the same level of helplessness that we had a year ago.
She and other volunteers from the Moncton Ukrainian Club will continue to organize fundraising and events like the Ukrainian Festival in the summer.
“We know we can do something to help, and this is what makes it easier,” she said.
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Irishtown resident Olga Polnitsky, who immigrated to Canada from Kharkov, Ukraine more than 20 years ago, also praised Monkton’s generosity.
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“I think all Ukrainians who come here… have received everything,” she said in an interview.
“From spoons and knives to furniture … I received everything for my children,” she said.
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She and husband Gary Castator welcomed the Bakum family home from Ukraine in May.
Tamara Bakum is Polnitsky’s high school friend.
Bakum and her daughter have moved into an apartment with their two granddaughters, but Polnitsky and Castator are still helping her adjust to many aspects of Canadian life.
Polnitsky said it’s been a year of ups and downs as he accepts the reality that his children are unlikely to return to Ukraine.
“They are overcoming cultural shock: from the excitement of fleeing war, to the despair of losing everything, to being isolated from the country and being unable to communicate,” she said.
Bakum and daughter Victoria found work, which Polnitsky said was essential for cultural integration.
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According to Castator, it’s been a difficult year. Because even mundane things like transportation and grocery shopping can present barriers to newcomers like Bakum.
Although it was sometimes difficult for him to form a relationship with the Bakum family due to language and cultural barriers, he still feels close to the Bakum family, recalling the birthday gift he received from them.
“Tamara went outside with her two[granddaughters]and stood next to the car and said ‘Happy Birthday!’ … I thought it was very special … in English! ‘ he said through tears.
“I was shocked. Then they gave me a gift card… See, you feel pretty special,” he said.
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