This Mother’s Day weekend the Weyburn Arts Council has teamed up with the Knox Presbyterian Church to have an extra special Mother’s Day tea. While the tea is celebrating mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers, this year the desire for both organizations is to extend their reach by helping those in need by donating to the Ukrainian crisis.
“We are very excited to be hosting a Mother’s Day Tea, it is our way of wanting to pay tribute to moms, grandmas, and great grandmas just to say what wonderful women they are,” share Linda Aitken, Secretary for the Weyburn Arts council and volunteer for the Knox Presbyterian Church.
“We need to recognize mothers in our community and as mothers in our community, I think all of us have a little bit of pain in our hearts for things that we see occurring in other places in the world,” said Linda. “At this point in time, what that brings up for me as a mother, is Ukraine.”
For some Weyburn and area residents, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is incredibly frightening. Now almost 70 days into the crisis, some area residents are finding their family members who live in Ukraine continue to run for cover from airstrikes. In addition, supplying basic life necessities is becoming a greater struggle.
The ongoing tragedy is very personal for local woman Ohla Matiusheva. Ohla and her husband Ihor and their son Alex immigrated from Ukraine four years ago.
Ohla volunteers as a director for the Weyburn Arts Council. Ohla’s mother Zena who is 68 years old lives alone in the city of Mykolaiv on the 11th floor of a city apartment. With no bomb shelter nearby, the elderly woman must resort to alternative safety measures.
“For people who can’t run to underground shelters, there is a rule of two-walls, so to stay far away from the windows, and to keep at least two walls between you and outside, this gives you a better chance to stay alive,” explained Ohla.
For Ohla’s mother, that means much of her time is spent in her apartment hallway.
Ohla shared that her mother no longer has access to running water. To gather water Zena must buy her drinking water, for cleaning and bathing, she must resort to collecting water from the water trucks, however, this option is not always accessible as fuel for the water trucks is not always available.
Ohla shared that her in-laws who live in the southern province of Kherson, have no electricity or gas.
“They cook on the fire near their houses, they have a humanitarian crisis there, they have no medical resources."
Ohla also explained that airstrikes have destroyed the grocery stores where her husband’s family lives, survival is dependent upon private gardens and raising livestock.
This Saturday at the Knox Hall will be a time to celebrate our mothers but will also be a time for Canadians to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.
“We are serving strawberry shortcake, a good ole Saskatchewan favourite, we’ve got the silver tea service out, we are spiffing up the place with bright blue and gold-yellow table clothes, we’re going to have Ukrainian and Canadian flags,” said Linda. “We’re standing in solidarity; we need to stand with the Ukrainians here in our own community.”
“It is our goal with this event that we as people reflect on who we are, that we open our hearts and minds to other things.”
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the Mother’s Day Tea. Children are also encouraged to attend as there will be a Kids Crafting Station to enjoy. Doors open at the Knox Hall at 1 pm and will end at 4 pm. To attend the Tea a donation will be collected at the door. All donations made at the event will go to support the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal through the Red Cross.