Ukraine Tour Day 3 – Molotschna Day

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader

So as not to be a romantic, let me start by saying why a person should maybe not go to the former Mennonite colony of Molotschna on a day like this:

-it was hot all day, sometimes without a breeze.

-the air conditioning wasn’t always working on our bus (for the relevance of this please see previous point).

-the roads are not great at the best, and almost undrivable at the worst.

-toilets are in short supply, that is if you don’t consider a shrub a facility.

-the day is long as it takes almost two hours of driving just to get to the Molotschna from Zaporozhye.

And yet.  And yet in spite of all of that this is always one of the most moving days on the Ukraine tour, and it was again this day.  People were elated by what they saw and felt.  Our group members spoke as we entered villages of special significance to people, and we heard stories of people feeling this connection today with the village of their mom, or their dad, or their grandparent, or multiple grandparents.  We stopped in villages and spoke with locals who were happy to tell us what they knew about Mennonites.  We gazed at streams and hillocks and elevated ridges and villages whether shiny or a bit fallen down.  And all of it was rather magical.

Tour member Vic Penner and his daughter (far right) visiting the property in Molotchna Colony near Zaporozhye where his father and his grandparents lived, and meeting the owner with Russian translator, Olga and tour leader Len Friesen.

The tour group paid a visit to a traditional Ukraine home in an old Mennonite house in the Molotchna Colony

Oh, and for lunch we stopped at the Mennonite Centre in Molochansk.  This is a remarkable organization as it gives so much to the communities that now live where “we” once lived.  They deserve our support and gratitude.  Check them out at the “Friends of the Mennonite Centre” website.

So a wonderful day, start to finish, even with the heat, the roads, and the facilities.  So moving to be part of it.

Tomorrow we head for Chortitza.

  • 4 years ago, 9:40

    Vic Penner is my husband, Sarah is my daughter. How thrilling to see them there in the place about which we’ve heard so many stories. Blessings to all.

    • 4 years ago, 8:04

      Thanks Susanne! I’m sure they’ll have many stories to tell you when they get home.

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