About  Phyllis

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NOTE: Shipments to U.S.A. take about 7 - 10 business days airmail.
 Prices in Canadian. 

rybit' - 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 site.  
                         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.

Phyllis Basaraba, 
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 Literature.     
                Now - 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


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