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Mentor Griffin welcomed to Ukraine by former students

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 30th, 2013

Courtesy Photo While traveling in Ukraine as guests of former ESL students Dmitri Matveenko (center) and Jaroshlawa Lagorshewskaja (right), Janna Griffin (left) pauses for her son Grant to photograph the three in a park.

2nd part of a two-part story

As with all good teachers, when Janna Griffin teaches her English as a Second Language (ESL) class or Citizenship class (Oct. 23, p 1, RT), she develops a relationship with her students. In one instance, this relationship led to a wonderful trip.

Two of her students were Dmitriy Matveenko and German language teacher Jaroshlawa Lagorshewskaja from Ukraine who worked at Wyoming Premium Farms. This couple became “like my own kids,” said Griffin. “They spent a great deal of time in our home” learning about the American way of life. Dmitriy (husband) was here five times and Jaroshlawa three times, each time taking part in the ESL program in order to become more fluent in English.

Both have college degrees but with the poor economy in Ukraine, good pay is difficult. Jaroshlawa was paid only the equivalent of $300/month to teach German. Dmitriy was working for a better car to use as a taxi and with Shlawa’s pay added they could get a better apartment.

The two flew into Kiev where their Ukrainian hosts picked them up for the six-hour drive to Harkiv, a city of 300,000. The two Americans were shown the beautiful city which included a lovely city park, town squares, beautiful architecture and churches.

City dwellers have bathrooms in the homes but as one travels to the countryside (which they did to visit the hosts’ parents) there are outhouses and water is still hauled up from wells.

The Griffins also encountered a new animal in Ukraine in the Nutra Rats that Dmitriy’s father raises. These are high protein creatures that are raised for meat, similar to the way that domestic rabbits are raised for food.

The group felt lucky to be able to tour the palace of the Romanov family on the Black Sea with many photos of the WWII Yalta Summit attended by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. They saw sunflower fields, vineyards, Black Sea and many more interesting sights on their 3,000 mile tour of the country.

Opportunities arise in common situations. Embracing those opportunities is the difference between just holding down a job and being truly aware of all the people involved in it. Griffin picked up on an opportunity and she, Grant and her Ukrainian friends are all the better for it.

For the complete article see the 10-30-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-30-2013 paper.

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