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You're reading: Poverty, migration mark life in western Ukraine

For more than a decade I passed by this structure, wondering who had started to build it and whether it would ever be constructed. Then, several weeks ago, I again drove by this carcass and was pleasantly surprised. A building that seemed forever abandoned on the hillside it inhabited was a hub of activity. Men carried boxes from a handful of parked automobiles while a woman washed windows on the second floor. A large sign that now hung across the building promoted building products in Polish.

Increasingly, this is the scene one witnesses in western Ukraine: Once empty structures are finally witnessing a rebirth, while village homes, faded by years of seeming neglect are getting a much-needed facelift.

While still not quaint, many villages are showing an improvement from a decade ago. A growing number of houses now sport colorful new roofs, while formerly boarded-up stores are again open, or new ones built in their place instead.

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