Ukrainian man unable to return home offered job on Quebec farm while he waits for war's end

·2 min read
Yaroslav Zahoruyko (far right) has been welcomed into the home of his daughter, Nataliya Zahoruyko, and her husband, Roman Selvester (left) and their children,  Michael and Emiliya. (Kwabena Oduro/CBC - image credit)
Yaroslav Zahoruyko (far right) has been welcomed into the home of his daughter, Nataliya Zahoruyko, and her husband, Roman Selvester (left) and their children, Michael and Emiliya. (Kwabena Oduro/CBC - image credit)

Yaroslav Zahoruyko only arrived in Canada a few weeks ago, and he is already starting his first job at Quinn Farm, located just west of Montreal, this weekend.

"He feels good. He feels strong. He worked at a farm in Ukraine, so it's nothing new for him. He's ready to work," said Roman Selvester, translating for his father-in-law.

Zahoruyko is still adapting to his new, unexpected life in Canada and is trying to learn English which, Selvester said, is a bit easier for him to learn than French.

Selvester and his wife were already living in Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot, Que., about five minutes from the farm, so they were happy to welcome Zahoruyko into his home after he became stuck in Austria, where he was visiting one of his daughters.

Zahoruyko, 58, had left Ukraine one week before the war began and hasn't been able to return since.

But, he said he feels comfortable in the Montreal area, which he has visited a couple of times before.

"You know, over there, it's a war. You have bombs everyday," said Selvester. "Right now, it's very hard."

Along with learning English, Zahoruko has been helping out around the house, and with his grandchildren, Selvester said.

Co-owner Stephanie Quinn said there is enough work for him for as long as he needs. The invasion of Ukraine reminds her all too much of what happened to her grandmother when she was a child in England during the Second World War.

CBC
CBC

"People took her in and her house was flattened and bombed," said Quinn.

"So it really hits home when we hear all that's happening in these cities. We really just want to be able to help them and keep them safe. It is how we are giving back for what people gave to my family then."

T-Shirts are also on sale at their store with all profits going to humanitarian aid efforts.

Quinn said they've hired two more Ukrainians to work in their bakery, and that they will soon be hosting a family as well.

Phil Quinn, co-owner of the farm, said, "its the very least we can do is have folks here and keep them safe."

Zahoruyko and his family are happy for the opportunity he's being given, and he said he will make the most of his time here in Canada.

But his heart still wants to return home after the war.

"Glory to Ukraine. I hope they're going to win. I hope everything is going to end soon," he said.

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