By Len Friesen, Tour Leader
So our trip is up and running, even if one final couple is still scheduled to join us later today in Kiev.
Here’s what is already clear from this group of TourMaginationites:
- We’ve gathered from across North America, from Canada and the USA, and from Oregon to Pennsylvania and from Ontario to British Columbia, yet already around yesterday’s evening meal and today’s breakfast you hear the buzz of easy conversation as new friendships are formed.
- You’ve got people on this trip, perhaps more than any other destination I’m familiar with, who have come to Ukraine (and Russia) as part of a personal pilgrimage. I’ve already heard stories of grandmothers and grandfathers, and of moms and dads, and where they were born in Ukraine and when did they leave, and how did they recreate their family and church communities when they immigrated to North America.
- I’ve heard heartfelt personal stories already of great joys and losses in the lives of those who are on this tour. It is quite humbling, actually, to sense how comfortable people are to share openly and candidly about who they are, and what has shaped their own lives.
- And we’ve also gotten well into the city of Kiev itself, and Ukraine. For some it happened when they arrived days ago and took family-based excursions before our actual tour had started. For others it took place yesterday as a group of us walked up the road to one of Kiev’s larger farmers’ markets. Within minutes there we were: well away from the tourist buses and in a setting where just the people of this good city are to be found.
In short, like so many TourMagination tours I’ve been privileged to be part of, this one is already all about community, both the ones that we are forming amongst ourselves, and with the city and setting in which we find ourselves.
We head out shortly to explore more of the city itself.