Greetings! as we say in Ukrainian.
Welcome ! and feel free to browse through my store that is displayed
with all- authentic hand made Ukrainian crafts along with
hand-embroidered blouses, shirts and linens and much more. All
the unique wooden items and embroidery work are skilfully handcrafted village folk who live in
the Carpathian Mountains, a region comprising northern Bukovyna and
southern Carpathian Ukraine. They sell their products at outdoor bazaars
in KOSIV and KOLYMAYA in the Oblast' (Province) of Ivana Frankivks'.
And it is from this region that I get all the stock to sell on this
my background is that I am a second generation Ukrainian
Canadian. My great-grandparents and grandparents were the first wave
of the 170,000 Ukrainians to immigrate to Canada from Bukovyna -
Chernivsti Area in the early 1900's - before WWI . I was born and raised
on a farm in the area of Smoky Lake, north-east Alberta, known
as Kalyna country, Canada's largest ecomuseum. Our family is blessed
with about 80 relatives who live in the Oblast' of Chernivtsi, Western
Ukraine. (The region is know as Bukovyna and gets its name from the
abundance of 'buk" trees - beechwood. The "buk" trees
are tall, dark and grey with smooth barks).
I live in the capital city of Alberta, Edmonton with a population of
about 900,000. We are proud to have over 80,000 people of Ukrainian
Heritage in our city. We have eleven Ukrainian-English Bilingual Schools
and about 30 dance groups in Edmonton and in the suburbs. Just half an
hour east of Edmonton we have an open air museum - The Ukrainian
Cultural Heritage Village where visitors can view all types of
buildings from the 1900's to 1930's and enjoy interacting with the
interpreters. Traveling further east on Highway 16
for another an hour the town of Vegreville boasts of having the
world's first largest free standing pysanky.
Our city of Edmonton has very close ties with Ukraine. We support
many educational and technical exchanges between Ukraine and our
city. People continue to send financial assistance and parcels of
clothing to relatives in Ukraine. Many times people of Ukraine ancestry
make trips to Ukraine in hope of connecting with distant relatives
or visiting those that they already know.
In essence I live in a community that is vibrant with Ukrainian culture
and tradition. A short drive out of the city and I can visit
many of the small towns that began by Ukrainian immigrants and chat with
locals about the good old days - "although times were tough"
they would say, "we still had good times".
Twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays in the early
dark morning, the village begins to stir. The vendors begin their trek down
from their mountain homes, some in a horse and wagon, others with a
newly (used) purchased car. All minds are concentrating on the outdoor bazaar,
which is held in the picturesque town of Kosiv. [Ivana-Frankiv'ska
oblast'- (province.)] The selling and bartering goes on routinely
regardless of the weather. Only religious holidays put a stop to
the bazaar. The method of selling hasn't change over the fifteen
years that I have been visiting the bazaar. Each crafter has his
own marked spot at the bazaar. They lay out their products on
the ground or whoever can afford the small fee, displays his work on
crudely built narrow tables. In recent years crafters with financial
means have built booths out of cheap slab and covered the roofs.
This gives protection to the different elements of weather.
Everything is bought and sold at the bazaar - cows, sheep, cabbage,
potatoes, parts for cars, ketchup, bananas, clothing, new and used,
macaroni - anything and everything. As long as you have lots of hryven,
the currency, about 8 hryven equals 1 USD. The towns have their
large supermarkets and gasoline stations dot the highways every few
kilometers. My cousins love to joke and one time told me that you can
buy and sell everything at the bazaar, even your mother-in-law! In cold
winter months my cousins hold flashlights so that we can have a
better look at the articles or embroidery - so that we wouldn't be
deceived - as they say. The bazaar is a fun and exciting place, all
kinds of noise, different smells of baked goods or strong coffee. It's
electrifying! Vendors running after you asking you to please buy their
wares and after some bartering I do. Then they rush off to buy a piglet
or some other necessary item. The buying and selling goes on - all in
the spirit of commerce.
owner of - Ukrainian-n-Things.com -
is wearing traditional Ukrainian
folk costume from the remote village of Shyshkivtsi, Kitsman
region, Chernivtsi oblast'.
In the late 90's I enrolled as a student at the
Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Alberta
in Edmonton, Alberta in the Master of Arts program. I specialized in
the department of Ukrainian culture and folklore. As a graduate
student I studied the whole spectre of Ukraine – its culture and
tradition, history and politics. I feel honoured that I was the first
graduate student from a foreign country to travel and do research
work. My research work was done in the
province of Chernivtsi, South West Ukraine where I gathered over 125 carols from several
groups of village people.
I graduated with my Master of Arts degree with my specialty being in
Ukrainian Culture and Folklore in the spring of 2002. Since then
I was privileged to publish the first non-censored book of Ukrainian
Carols in Ukraine and it sold out quickly. Since then many such books
followed I have printed a booklet of carols in two different formats. They
are for sale under the webpage of
- finally about the politics - the politics of Ukraine. My background is
in politics and election work (Returning Officer in charge of a district
during a General Election). In March 1994, I was chosen by the
Federal Government to be a part of a 3 person committee in Kyiv,
Ukraine, to oversee observers who monitored the first free
elections for deputants
( members of the RADA - Supreme Council of
Ukraine's Government). At that time 131 parties were fielding
candidates. Another rewarding experience was when I joined 500 observers
from Canada to monitor the repeat round of the first Presidential
Elections on December 26, 2004 between Victor Yushenko and Victor
Yanykovych. It was in the heat and stronghold of the Orange Revolution
that scored a marginal victory for Victor Yushenko, who remains
President of Ukraine.
I did return to Ukraine with 200 other Canadian Observers to
monitor the last Presidential Elections in February 2010. Victor Yanykovych
- a pro-Russian candidate was elected with about one million votes
ahead of the other runner - Julia Tymoshenko. Unfortunately economic
hardships continue especially for the village people. But there is
another sector of people who are getting richer. Corruption is very
rampant especially in the government. Present population of Ukraine is
48 Million. (2010)
Throughout the years I have met so many wonderful customers from all
parts of my country, United States, England and Australia - places were
Ukrainians chose to settle. I am very grateful for the experience of
sharing different backgrounds (Ukrainian). My website has also
provided me with an avenue of meeting so many delightful people. I feel very humbled by this "new" way of selling
merchandise and meeting such heart warming people. Thank you for your
patronage as well as providing a source of income for the Ukrainian village people.
May God bless you all!
With deepest gratitude
and best wishes,
Phyllis Basaraba 2012