Rediscovering Ukraine: Canadian Lawyer Extends Contract 25 Years
Now, he works in Ukraine as a project manager and doesn't plan to return to Canada full time
Canadian lawyer Lubomyr Markevych came to Ukraine for a one-year contract. As a result, he stayed in the country for over 25 years.
Back in the 1960s, Markevych became a member of Plast. At the time, the Scout Organization founded in Lviv and was banned in Ukraine because of its patriotic leanings.
“When the Soviet occupation and the Second World War took place, a lot of Ukrainians and, in particular, Plast scouts, moved away from the territory of occupied Ukraine. First, to the displaced person camps in Germany, then in a range of other countries,” Plast Press-Secretary Roman Tymotsko said.
Lubomyr’s parents left Ukraine during a wave of immigration following World War II. After returning from a concentration camp, Lubomyr’s mother, Anna, moved to Canada, where she met Volodymyr.
“They met in a Roman Catholic church basement, where the Roman Catholics nuns gave English lessons to immigrants free of charge,” Markevych said.
Raised in an immigrant family, Lubomyr couldn’t speak English well until third grade. Later, he married a girl with Ukrainian roots.
“We had children. And we consciously made the effort to make sure that they spoke Ukrainian. So, we made sure they went to Ukrainian schools, just like we did. They joined Plast, just like I did,” he said.
Now, there are some 13,000 Plast members in the world, and almost 9,000 in Ukraine. It was Canadian scouts in particular who helped to revive the scout tradition.
“There are volunteer fraternities, called “kureni.” Just like this one: Lisovi Chorty or Forest Devils. The Canadian representatives of this fraternity arrived in Ukraine, and ignited the flame of Plast scouting for many young people,” Tymotsko said.
Lubomyr was never a scout in Ukraine. However, 26 years ago, this former Canadian lawyer decided to connect his life with Ukraine forever.
“There was an opportunity to come here for a one-year contract with the Canadian government, which was at that time beginning the first technical assistance programs in Ukraine,” he said.
Now, he works in Ukraine as a project manager and doesn’t plan to return to Canada full time.