Monday, February 8, 2010

Cold Remedies/Election Results

It was presidential election time again, the run-off election for the top two vote-getters from the first round, Julia Tymechenko and Victor Yanukovitch, and I was nursing a cold.

Not that I could vote, but I wanted to be able to cheer Luba and her friends on as they marched to vote for a new day in Ukraine.

I came back from Chernigov with this cold and it won't go away. Runny nose, burning eyes. cough, sore throat, chills. Luba has tried every home remedy known to Ukrainians across the ages. A heated oil mixture to rub on your nose. Another mixture to rub on your chest (she marches into my bedroom, lifts up my shirt, and puts on the mixture, which burns, but that's supposed to be good for you). A clove of garlic with every meal. I am not hungry but I have been stuffed with food. Maleena in chai (raspberry preserves in tea). No coffee. She takes my morning cup and dumps it out! Not good for a cold, she says. Hot milk with honey. Her friend Luda has been sleeping over lately and she's been helping out too, with "natural" remedies that she learned from her babuska. Today it was patches of heat around my rib cage, and the blankets pulled over my head. No way I was going to Lugansk for that meeting. I am being mothered.

On Sunday I was getting ready to go to the English Club. Luba and Luda were getting ready to go vote for president. It was 7 February, election day. This time their votes would really make a difference. They dressed up and looked elegant. When they eyed my outfit, however, they rolled their eyes and went to town. I wasn't dressed warmly enough for heaven's sake! Off came my sweater. "Ne naturale," Luda said. Luba pulled out a wool sweater, very pretty, and I felt better. I thought my sweater was just fine, by the way, but I checked the label and sure enough it was 100% polyester! How did they know that? It was the same scenario with my long johns and socks. On went another layer. Somehow I didn't look as elegant as they did, but no question I was very warm.

I pranced around, modeled, spread out my arms, and bowed, to their delight! Sergei winked at me, no doubt very familiar with the awesome mothering on display, and took a photo.
Ukrainian women are fantastic. The anchors of the family, workers and citizens. I had secretly hoped that Ukraine would elect a woman president, following the recent example in Costa Rica. It seemed like a harbinger of things to come,

But it was not meant to be. Yanukovitch won in a close election. For many Ukrainians, it will be the old crowd back in power, bringing an end for sure to the dreams of the Orange Revolution. But democracy is at work. The European Community and other transitioning countries are paying attention. Reformers and new voices are on the horizon. The non-governmental sector is growing and is bringing change from the bottom up. I'm placing my bets with this vital sector. It's onto another chapter in the political history of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, I succumb to the awesome mothering of Luba and her friend Luda, and feel grateful. boodyte zdarovy. Bless you! I hope the nation is in as good hands.

Interesting article about the election:  Postcript: Writing in retrospect, this is the election Paul Manafort worked, for lots of money, in support of pro-Russian Yanukoitch. Yanukovitch proved as corrupt and as pro-Putin as predicted. He was forced to flee Ukraine to Russia after the Maiden Revolution of 2014 in Kyiv.

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