As Global Voices Russian Language Health Editor, Maryna Reshetnyak spends most of her time covering the Kiev-based Rising Voices grantee project, The Drop-In Center. She also blogs on Global Voices about discussions in the Russian-language blogosphere related to health, most recently about the swine flu hysteria in Ukraine. In this video she describes her first meeting with Rising Voices grantee, Pavel Kutsev, and recalls her life as a graduate student in Delaware, USA.
I am Maryna Reshetnyak and I live in Odessa, Ukraine.
David: And what do you do for Global Voices?
Maryna: I am the Russian Language Health Editor for the Rising Voices project. Basically, I cover the Drop-In Center project. This project unites a group of people who are leaders in the Ukrainian harm reduction movement. They are living with drug addiction themselves. They are on substitution therapy so each day to live a normal life they need to take methadone. And they blog about this. They blog about the problems they have. And actually the blog helps them to lobby and advocate to the health care authorities in government and I cover this project.
David: Today, for the first time, you met Pavel of the Drop-In Center … this blog that you've been translating for almost a year now, right? What was it like to meet in person for the first time after you had met him online?
Maryna: Surprisingly, when I met him, I met the person I expected to meet. It seems that by reading everything that he writes, it allowed me to know him very very well. It seems like, you know, that I met an old friend. I spent two years in the United States of America doing my Master's program in Public Administration at the University of Delaware. So I spent two years of my life in the fantastic place of Delaware which I miss a lot. Also I spent three months doing my internship in Washington D.C. And I also like this place a lot.
David: So when you were living in America, what were some of the impressions that Americans had of Ukraine?
Maryna: They have the impression that it is very cold. I don't know why, but everybody though that it is very cold.
David: It is very cold!
Maryna: One pretty educated person … asked me once if I miss the northern lights. I was like, no. I live in Odessa. It is really warm there and we have nice beaches. Yeah, this is the only think they knew about Ukraine is that it is very cold but I did my best to explain to them that Ukraine is also a very beautiful country full of culture.
David: What are your impressions of Global Voices?
Maryna: Well, it's a fantastic project. It's really great to feel myself to be a part of a network of more than 200 people from all over the world doing the same job. And I'm really proud to be a part of that team. It means a lot to me.