The landscape of Molochansk (Halbstadt) is changing in front of our eyes. It’s happening at the major intersection of town where our street (Rosa Luxembourg) joins the main street.
Last week, in a matter of days, a state-of-the-art children’s playground was constructed. This week kitty-corner across from this playground at least 10 men are
|Victory Day Celebration in front of Zentralschule|
hard at work laying cement paving blocks, covering the entire area of the central plaza in front of the Palace of Culture (former Zentralschule). Just before Victory Day celebrations last week this building received a fresh coat of paint.
The playground area abuts the duck pond and the mayor tells us that this will be dredged and before long, swans will be swimming there, just like they did one hundred years ago. We had been approached a number of times in recent years asking us whether we would consider taking on this project of restoring the park. Each time we felt that there were other priorities.
We see all this and wonder. We question because so many things require attention. The roads are getting worse. Driving to the next town where we bank and shop should take 10-12 minutes; it takes at least half an hour. Some streets in Molochansk aren’t even navigable. This week a woman went to the mayor to complain. When it rains her children have difficulty getting to and from school. The street is a sea of mud and the depth of the holes is camouflaged. To solve this problem the mayor offered her pieces of pavement which had been dug up in refurbishing the above-mentioned plaza. Road repair is frequently done with broken-up bricks. Yesterday electricity and water were off for 10 hours. This happens unpredictably and people take it in their stride. It’s much better now however, than a few years ago.
What’s most difficult is seeing people, again this week, coming to the Centre ashen-faced because a loved one has had surgery and has a poor diagnosis. The doctor has just told the family that they need more money before they can do anything. The family has already spent all their resources and is in debt. They have heard that there are “good people” at the Mennonite Centre that might help them. Medical care by law is free in Ukraine. Our hearts are heavy and we help where we can.
Government priorities? Improvement coming in baby steps? How does the beautifying of public spaces fit in? It has been said that beauty can become a survival strategy. In the greater scheme of things might not the delight children and mothers experience at the playground outweigh the expense? The men laying the paving blocks have temporary employment. We hear people saying, “too bad there’s not an election every year.”