On a sunny Monday early morning this 7 days, Ihor Kondyra was doing the job in the Hamilton Park Montessori School’s rooftop yard, seeking correctly at simplicity trimming dead stems from a grape vine to make it ready to improve alongside a trellis.
“My pricey friend,” he said with a gesture to the planters, pots, and beekeeping products constituting the backyard garden, “this is my soul.”
A retired director of a regional unemployment agency, a multi-instrumentalist with a certain fascination in the flute, a holder of post-secondary degrees in equally tunes and economics, and most recently a refugee from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kondyra at age 65 is moving into a new phase in life as the Hamilton Park Montessori School’s volunteer gardener and beekeeper.
The school approved his center college-aged daughters when the loved ones fled Ternopil, Ukraine for Jersey Metropolis. His stepdaughter, Ukrainian Jersey City co-founder and casual coordinator of Jersey Town refugee resettlement Oksana Condon, also has a son who attends the faculty.
The school’s garden and apiary fell into disuse all through the COVID-19 pandemic until finally Condon’s partner designed the connection that Kondyra — who had a garden and beehives in Ukraine and was seeking for some thing to occupy his time — might be the man for the position of patching up the garden.
Due to the fact previous 7 days he’s been spending as substantially free time as he has getting the garden again up and working, and states he’ll will need at least three several hours a 7 days in it for upkeep in the foreseeable future. He programs to improve strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, some greens, and, study course, grapes — his favorite.
Condon reported the exact system for what to do with the create has not been determined nonetheless.
The bees are a project for following 12 months, the moment the plants have been recognized. Kondyra claimed he desires to plant flowers to give the bees pollen in the very long term. Some tools, like a push for harvesting honey, is by now on hand in the backyard garden, although it requires repairs.
The rooftop of the university, suitable across the street from Hamilton Park, is a significantly cry in sizing, local weather, and surroundings from the backyard garden at Kondyra’s country dwelling, situated in the vicinity of a 17th century castle in the Ukrainian countryside.
But gardening and beekeeping is his “art,” Kondyra stated. “The odor of the flowers, it provides you back to daily life.”
Condon set it in another way. “He’s obsessed with it,” she claimed.
Kondyra’s grandfather was an avid beekeeper. His father was not, but Kondyra took it on himself to revive the loved ones custom when he retired.
A neighbor in Ukraine is watching following Kondyra’s hives there, which is “vital,” Condon explained, simply because before in the 12 months Kondyra was “screaming at me that we need to phone him right now due to the fact it’s acquiring hotter and he demands to make positive (the hives) are all cleaned and there are no useless bees.”
Kondyra’s volunteer do the job and his daughters’ admission to the college are two cases of a deep link involving the Hamilton Park Montessori Faculty and the local community of refugees from the war in Ukraine settled in Jersey City.
A assortment of elementary and middle faculty college students were also on hand Monday morning to supply roughly $700 in donations to Condon for refugee attempts. Sayuj Sharma, a seventh-grader, led a team in boosting dollars via a bake sale in early April. Colin Stewart, a third-grader, and some good friends sold hand-produced Ukrainian flag vital chains to raise funds.
“I truly feel like this money’s genuinely heading to help people suffering,” mentioned Sayuj, who has adopted the information of the invasion intently and wishes to assist refugees with their education.
In that context, Kondyra’s volunteering might be regarded as a probability to make that romantic relationship a reciprocal a person. Right after all, the place of gardening, Condon reported, is not just to maintain the develop, but to share it with other folks.
“It provides him happiness,” Condon reported of Kondyra’s gardening and beekeeping attempts, “and perhaps anyone else will see happiness, too.”