It was a beautiful snowstorm…only slightly below zero, so the snow was soft. But it was coming down by the shovel full on this early January morning. Lyudmila didn’t mind as the snow stuck to her outfit and landed on the face – she was focused on exercising in the small stadium near her home in a small west Ukrainian town. A retiree, Lyudmila says she tries to exercises everyday for about 50 minutes on the machines. Somedays she jogs or walks. Lydia said she gets up around 6am to exercise in the summer and a bit later in the winter.
Lyudmila said she had three children, but two of them were working abroad in Israel….one on the diamond market, the other in the medical field. She said her town, Mogilev-Podolsky, had several factories during Soviet times that produced some good products, but they barely operate any more. There are not many jobs in the town, she said. I saw the factories – they stand next to each other and look like an industrial wasteland….it could be a great place to shoot a film like ‘Mad Max.’
As Lyudmila finished her exercise and headed home, she asked me if I had visited the local monasteries and churches. I said no, but hoped to. She said they were beautiful and offered to give me a tour. She asked me to take down her number and call if I were to have time, so I did so. It was a very kind gesture on her part. As I finished my work late, I didn’t have time to visit the churches, but will contact her should I return.