Well, what a week that was: Medyka, the busiest crossing on the Polish-Ukranian border, and the most disorganised; no major NGO on the ground, just lots of organisations and individuals trying to help.
I’ve seen some incredibly sad sights, seen kindness and met some selfless people that it has been a privilege to work alongside.
I’ve seen people queuing for hours with all their worldly possessions in a couple of holdalls, with no idea where they will end up, and I met a guy who sold his possessions, bought a one way ticket, lives in a tent, and just gets on with helping people everyday, not bigging himself up, just quietly getting on with it.
I’ve seen American evangelical preachers shouting through a megaphone at refugees stuck in a queue, (talk about a captive audience!) telling them that it’s ok that they’ve lost their homes and families, because Jesus loves them, and I’ve seen the Sikh community quietly working away, taking vehicles across with supplies, bringing people out, feeding the hungry, (volunteers as well😋) providing shelter and warmth in a marquee for anyone that needs to rest, feed their children, and just get a moment of quiet.
Actions speak louder than words methinks.🤔
I’ve helped families over the border, wheeled their luggage down the hill in a shopping trolley, stopped at the gate to the refugee camp and made the mum read the sign in Ukrainian warning that people traffickers are operating in the area, then escorted them through the camp where everything is free -food, clothes, sweets, toiletries – but they are too proud to ask for them.
I help them get a free Sim card, coffee, and some hot food, and then get them in the queue for the bus to the train station, Using Google translate on our phones we chat: do they have family or friends they can go to? Some lucky ones say yes, others don’t know where they’ll end up.
The bus arrives, I put their bags on, they hug me and say thank you, you have a good heart, I wish them good luck and stay safe, then push my trolley round the corner and lean on it, sobbing for a couple of minutes. I’m an emotional wreck.🙄
Then I pull myself together, tell myself to man up, load the trolley with medical supplies and blankets for the field hospital, and start the trek up the hill again towards the border to do it all over again.
Thank you all for the tremendous support you gave the four of us who made the trip, all your donations of supplies, all of you who donated to the Go fund me page set up by Claire who was our team member back home, posting updates and doing an amazing job of fund raising and support.
The local businesses who donated equipment and aid, the local garages who helped us with fuel, the farmer who offered to fill us up with fuel, the local business man who gave an envelope of cash, “for the four of you to have a meal and a few drinks” (we had a few beers on the ferry home to decompress, thank you.🍻)
And the countless other people who have supported us; I apologise if I haven’t mentioned you personally, but many thanks to you all.
And from me, a big thank you to Alan, Neil and Brandon for looking out for me. Cheers, guys.
That’s it over, an emotional roller coaster of a week I’ll never forget.