From Ukraine to the US
In September of 2022, Veritas/GreenTree/RentSFNow partnered with the impactful organization Nova Ukraine to welcome five Ukrainian families into our buildings as a show of support for those fleeing the war against Ukraine. Kateryna Prykhodko, or Katya as her friends call her, and her 14-year-old son Kirill, have been slowly settling into their new home in San Francisco after going through a chaotic whirlwind of events starting in February of this year. We had the recent opportunity to sit down and talk with Kateryna about her experience in Ukraine leading up to her leaving her country, coming to North America, and eventually making her way to San Francisco. We also had a chance to hear about her new small business, selling her handmade baby knitwear.
“On February 24th of this year,” Kateryna recalled over a cup of coffee in her apartment, “I was in Kiev, away from my son, working. He called me on the phone to tell me that our city, Mykolaiv, was being bombed. I felt a sense of shock and disbelief, and after a short while on the phone with him I could literally hear a bomb going off in the background.” Kateryna explained that, fortunately, she was with a friend who was able to drive her back to connect with her son. Shortly following this, they fled Mykolaiv. At this point in our conversation with her, she quietly paused for a moment, and then keenly expressed her concern for the welfare of all those in her country who would be staying in shelters this winter season, as the shelters of the Ukraine often lose power, which could be detrimental to the safety of the people residing in them due to extreme cold.
Kateryna and Kirill stayed in a nearby Ukrainian city until April, before departing for North America, first landing in Tijuana, and then driving with her US-based family members all the way to the Bay Area. After such a long and arduous journey, Kateryna expressed her immense gratitude and relief in having a safe place to call home, despite being profoundly distressed about the state of her country. “At the same time,” she stated, “I am so proud of my country now. To see the way we have rebuilt the infrastructure in many cities so quickly is incredible. We are so strong.” She took a moment after this to explain that the power sources and electrical infrastructure were some of the first targets of the Russian attacks.
A New Chapter in San Francisco
Just two months after moving into their Mission District apartment, Kateryna and her son are slowly adapting to their new life and becoming part of our San Francisco community. Her son is in a local school, and she happily shared that he has just enrolled in dance training. “Dance was such a big part of his life in Ukraine, so I’m extremely happy to see him dancing again.”
As they rebuild their life, Kateryna is exploring and thinking about different options for work. In Ukraine, she was an IT specialist working at a university with a PhD in in Project Management, but now she is contemplating getting more into the data analysis sector of the medical field. In the meantime, she has been focusing on her small side business of making beautiful baby knitwear. She has been knitting since she was a young girl and had a thriving Etsy shop based out of Ukraine up until the time of the war.
To explore her knitwear shop, head over to her Instagram page @Metelyk_Knit. You can reach out to her via direct message about any of the pieces pictured on her page. If you’d like to donate to Nova Ukraine, see the donation link below.
Donate – Nova Ukraine