Melissa Dovhii, 13 years old, Brazil
My name is Melissa. My mom’s name is Maria and my dad’s is Maicon Martins. I feel very happy for having Ukrainian roots, as my nation is rich and gifted. My great-grandparents came from Ukraine, because they looked for freedom and a better place to live. My mother and grandmother taught me to appreciate their traditions, language, culture and customs, which we all preserve today.
I love Brazil and I wish to see its cities. Our town is small. We have beautiful water- falls. We maintain language, traditions and culture. Most of the population are descendants of Ukrainians and Poles, and they all live in peace and harmony. 126 years ago Ukrainian immigrants came to Brazil, and brought here culture, traditions, language and customs, which we have been keeping until now. There was nothing but forest and wild animals here. Locals helped the fi rst settlers.
Ukrainians succeeded to find common ground with the natives and survived! Before Easter we have different Lent services, paint Easter Eggs and on Holy Saturday we cook various dishes, put them in a basket and bring them to church service to have it consecrated. We also decorate pysanky [Ukrainian Easter Eggs] and the tourists pick a part of Ukraine with them, after visiting Prudentópolis!
I put my feelings about quiet nature – the greatest treasure of Brazil – into the painting. This nature has become home for Ukrainians and once helped them survive.