Mark and Anna are a married couple from Skadovsk. Here in Ukraine they had a small business - a small food store. In Skadovsk summer tourists come to bathe in the sea and to sunbathe. Almost all the residents have rooms or small houses they rent out to visitors. Generally summer is the only chance to make some money. The town is small but inviting. There is very little work for the inhabitants and most young people have left for the larger cities to look for work.
Mark and Anna were among the first entrepreneurs who, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, got involved in business activities by opening their food store. At first things went well but they ran into al the difficulties most young entrepreneurs face in Ukraine.
Then their son was born and as he grew up the question arose on how to give him a good education. To teach him locally where the teachers weren't good or to send him abroad to study which costs a lot of money.
Mark continues their story: "Our business didn't make enough money for that. Then we discovered that my grandmother has Jewish roots. And although we didn't know anything about Israel, we seized upon the idea to send our son there to study. We began to study everything about Israel. Some friends said one thing, others something else. But, by chance, we found out that in a nearby street a young family was leaving for Israel. Although we didn't know them well, we decided to approach them and talk to them. They told us how they were helped by an organisation in Odessa to prepare for their consular check. They didn't have enough documents and Ezra helped them. It's simply not possible to take documents from the Archives. This family was given the contact details for Ezra and were told that Ezra would help. In turn we received Ezra's details from this family and are grateful for the help Ezra has given us.
Now our son lives in Israel and his very happy. He finished school there and served in the army. So we decided to go ourselves. It's true that the consul is very far away. I had to come to him twice: once for a preliminary check of documents, and then for a visa. To go from Skadovsk to Odessa is 320 kilometers one way.
But everything is over, we are in the car. We are grateful that with such cargo we can so comfortably reach the airport. We have been preparing for a long time. Our son already has two children, his own family. He always called us to come, but it was difficult to close the business."
"All this time", says Anna, "Mark was learning about Israel, studying the laws, the economy of Israel; he wanted to come to this country prepared to start his own business there. Studying Israel, we fell in love with this country. We believe that we will succeed. If we were able to establish a business in Skadovsk despite difficulties, competition, bribes and other lawlessness, in Israel it will not be so difficult. Mark and I are hard-working and assertive, we will succeed."
Times passes quickly and before we all knew it 4 hours had passed and we are in Odessa airport where Mark and Anna said goodbye to their family. Very often when we see people off at the airport, we hear from them: "come to visit us, to Israel!" And each time we feel unity with them and kinship ... "Until we meet in Israel, dear ones!