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He Arrived From Ukraine With Three Dollars in His Pocket; His Daughter Now Has a College Degree

Tanya Protsenko translates for her father, Anatoliy, who shares his memories of Ukraine and the journey to the Ozarks
Tanya Protsenko and her father, Anatoliy, live with their family in the rural Ozarks outside of Willow Springs, Missouri. (Photo credit: Tanya Protsenko, used with permission)

Good morning, and welcome to Around the World, Here at Home.  I’m Jennifer Davidson.  This morning, we’ll hear about the country that's geographically the second largest in Europe—one that was, in the 10th and 11th centuries, the  center of the most powerful Slavic state in Europe:  Ukraine. Under Soviet rule, Ukraine endured two forced famines, before finally gaining its independence in 1991. Today, it’s a republic, but right now, it’s seeing anti-government protests and violence in the streets.  The protests were sparked by the Ukrainian president’s decision to become closer to Russia instead of the European Union.

The land of Ukraine is rich, fertile plains and plateaus, with the Carpathian mountains rising up in the West. Today, we hear from a construction worker in the Ozarks who was born in Ukraine:  Anatoliy Protsenko spoke to us through his daughter, Tanya, who interpreted at their home near Willow Springs, Missouri.  When Anatoliy and his wife arrived in New York as new immigrants, he had three dollars in his pocket.  He took construction jobs and other jobs where he could find them, and says he has always valued hard work.  His daughter, Tanya, now has a college degree, and his son plans to graduate from MSU-West Plains later this Spring.  You can hear the interview by clicking on the MP3 player above.