As I’ve started and stopped this blog due to our electricity going off randomly, I’m reminded how unstable this country is.
Politically there is a significant vacuum as parliament continues to replace those who run out of dodge. So far Russia has been fairly quiet, but rumors of mobilization in the South (Crimea) and strong words from the Kremlin raise concerns what their next steps could be. However general mood among Ukrainians I talk to locally and in Kiev is one of hope.
Economically the Ukrainian Hryvnia has decreased by 20% in the past 3 months, and at the moment approaching record lows against the US dollar. The country is billions in debt and close to full collapse – now appealing for emergency funding from the West. The banks across the country have implemented cash withdraw limits, including $45 per day ATM limits in our own town.
In the background, we can hear the army depot, located about 20km from here, detonating their bombs. Normally we wouldn’t think anything of it, it usually happens once a month or so. However today, as our windows shook and my desk reverberates from the blasts, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious of the timing.
I awoke thinking of the Cafe downtown. How amazing it would be if we could be open right now. What a light in the center it could already be, particularly in times of fear. Sadly, it sits. It sits finished, invested in, labored over, and prayed towards.
It sits because this country has sat for so long in the dark ages (in terms of economic development). The utility companies are 50yrs behind, they have little sense of economic stimulation and the importance of small business to a nations well being. It sits because there has been no accountability within the most basic procedures. The cafe sits because private business has been viewed as a liability in Ukraine. Until this mindset changes, the temporary financial help of other nations will never solve the countries need for independence.
Ukraine will always ‘need’ others to keep from financial collapse unless it figures out that economically stable nations thrive by encouraging private business – these businesses create jobs, competition, better products and services. They inspire creativity, and risk takers. Currently it’s too great a risk to invest in Ukraine, not so much because of the President, but the mindset towards business itself and the many road blocks in place to prevent it from even getting off the ground.
Frustrated. I want to see our collective investment in this town reaping results, encouraging hearts, building relationships, selling pizza/coffee and employing a few good folks. I have other discipleship things on my heart to transition towards, but we must first get this thing rolling. We are told the Gas documents and personnel will be arriving March 1. That’s next week. Lord keep me from being cynical – It’s just hard when things are so close, you can almost taste it.