A humanitarian aid trip to Ukraine
For the second time in a month, we went to Ukraine to bring humanitarian aid. Together with the Children Help Foundation in Zywiec, we brought medicines to the hospital in Korostyshiv as well as food for the Saint Martin de Porres Center in Fastiv.
We also took with us an elderly couple who were hoping for transport to go back home near Kyiv. The trip was very long. In four days, we drove nearly four thousand kilometers. We split near Lviv. Bartek went to the south to pick up a daughter and a granddaughter of our passengers so that the entire family could go back home together. Me and Krzysztof Blecha from the Children Help Foundation and our guide Anton went to the hospital. Our car broke down on the way when after driving into a hole in the road the fuel supply was cut off. But after one and a half hours, we managed to move on.
After dusk we arrived at the hospital where the stuff members were waiting for us. The chief physician and nurses were very happy to see us. During the Kyiv encirclement, injured soldiers, among others, were treated in the hospital in Korostyshiv. The medicines and medical materials had run out and help was urgently needed. We quickly unpacked the stock and set off to Kyiv, but the earlier car breakdown disrupted our plans. We arrived at the outskirts of the city half an hour after the curfew began so the soldiers were not allowed to let us into the city. We had to spend that night in the car. Luckily, we had blankets and enough space for a little sleep to wait until the morning.
At the same time, Bartek was sleeping in a parking lot in the center of Kyiv. He received the pass but we were all supposed to stay over at Anton’s who stayed with me and Krzystof outside the city. On Thursday, we went to the Saint Martin’s Center in Fastiv where we unpacked food for families from the nearby villages and the refugees from Eastern Ukraine. We then met with Father Misha, a Dominican priest who is looking after these families. He told us about the needs of the locals and the activities they’ve undertaken to help them. Later on, we drove through Bushiv, Fasova and Andriivka to Makariv and Borodyanka which were occupied by the Russians. They are all partly destroyed. Many houses have no windows or doors. In Borodyanka many shops and houses are destroyed, but the city is functioning more or less normally. The school, the park, the church and other buildings are intact. People walk down the streets, children play football on a pitch next to the local school. Live bombs and rubble have been removed. Life is going on.
Currently, cleaning up of the rubble and restoring of electricity is taking place in these villages. Since 26th of February, 750 soldiers were stationed there and they were destroying and looting whatever they could put their hands on. But now, the residents want to go back to their homes. The biggest problem, as I’ve mentioned, are destroyed roofs and smashed windows. It’s difficult to live in a house from which one can look up at the sky. Father Misha and his team are working to install the roofing and provide people with decent living conditions to return to. They’ve asked us to help them buy asbestos tiles (or rather fiber cement panels that do not contain harmful asbestos) for the roofing. They also want to buy chickens and goats for the families whose livestock was stolen or killed.
On our way back, our car broke down again in the same way as when we were driving to Korostyshiv. This time we knew what to do, so we quickly managed to solve the problem. On Friday evening we were back home. But we won’t rest for long as on Tuesday we will be flying to Iraq.