* Sulaiman Danjuma
Travelling has always been a passion of mine. Being an amateur photographer, I find seeing new places, meeting new people and getting to know different cultures, exceptionally inspiring. By the age of 32 I had already been to the majority of exotic places: the Emirates, Ethiopia, Turkey, India, Laos, Thailand, Japan, Egypt, Australia and Cuba. So, when a friend of my dad who was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ukraine invited me to visit him for a couple of weeks. But the problem was asking my parents if I could go with him, but then it was not a problem anymore when I asked them as he was a trusted friend of my dad and they were both thinking like me, I thought: “Why not?! I do not know what to expect from this country since I know very little about it. So, it will definitely be an interesting experience!” And we were so right about that.
Ukraine turned out to be completely different from everything I have seen so far. A post Soviet Union country, it is still struggling to build a developed society. But, being an amateur photographer, I was far more interested in nature, people and sites, than in politics. Ukraine appeared to be a beautiful, even gorgeous country. Being slightly smaller than Texas, it is extremely diverse and is full of natural wonders that take your breath away. Kyiv, the capital city, appeared unexpectedly well-groomed, green and wealthy. Lots of bridges across the Dnipro River, a great number of beautiful parks, a couple of botanical gardens, and many, many flowers everywhere you go. A lot friendlier than you would think. Next we went to the western Ukraine with its own peculiar culture and atmosphere.
The Carpathian Mountains are gorgeous and very authentic, with small distant villages and little country houses that seem like the progress will never reach them. An amazingly romantic place! I had been there in late May, but my friend says these mountains are beautiful all year round...