Yana Hotie and her son Artem have only been in Canada for five days, after arriving in Weyburn from Ukraine last week. 

The two had to go through five different countries before departing Europe.  

“We went through Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia,” said Hotie. “It was a difficult journey for us, our bus trip was two days.”   

They arrived in Edmonton, flew to Regina, and then came to Weyburn. 

She is now staying with her friend Olena Khorolets and her family in Weyburn. Khorolets said Kurtis Bourassa, owner of E. Bourassa & Sons had even offered them a place. 

Hotie was originally planning to come to Canada in September, but applied for a free flight to come sooner.

“I didn't have hope about that, and one day on the 1st of August, I received the letter with the tickets,” said Hotie. “I was smiling in this moment because I received this letter, and I told her (Khorolets) that I received it, but I didn't believe it and I didn't want to say that to her because I wasn't confident about that flight. If you get something for free, it's kind of like a dream.” 

She said she is enjoying being in Canada so far, and that it has exceeded her expectations.  

“After war, our lives changed a lot, and my son and I were happy to be here, I was crying.”   

In fact, it was Hotie’s birthday on Friday, August 12, and when Khorolets made a post about it on Facebook, she received many Birthday wishes and a gift.

She even already has a job at Travelodge Hotel, an opportunity she said she is grateful for. 

“The hotel staff is very kind to me,” said Hotie. “They’re very patient. These people help me out. That's why we are happy to be here.”   

Hotie said she wants to stay in Canada for a long time. 

“We left one country, but we want to have a new home where my son will be happy and he can live safely,” she said. “I want that my son goes to school, because in Ukraine he couldn't go to school, he could learn only online.”  

She added all schools in Ukraine are either closed or destroyed. 

When Hotie and her son arrived in Edmonton, they were met by people giving out food, drinks, and toys. In Regina, they were given food and supplies by the hotel they stayed in.  

She is thankful for all of the people who have supported her and her son, including the Salvation Army Food Bank, Travelodge Hotel, and Southeast Newcomer Services. 

Artem and Yana Hotie, Olena, Oscar and Milana KhoroletsArtem and Yana Hotie, Olena, Oscar and Milana Khorolets