Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Reporter’s Notebook: Tales from the Poland-Ukraine Border

Jeff Horenstein has seen his fair share of injury and death as an emergency room doctor in Massachusetts – and ironically, working as a medical volunteer on the Polish side of the border at a refugee reception camp from the western Ukraine city of Lviv. is much more than doing. by NGOs in Medica in south-east Poland.

“Most of the people we see here are dehydrated or their elderly and want us to test them and need reassurance; they are worried they are running low on their medications,” he says. “Serious cases bypass us. We make children complain of stomach ache,” he adds. He has also treated some foreign fighters who received shrapnel in shelling in eastern Ukraine. “They decided not to go back in,” he says.

Already Stunned Refugees Leave Ukraine In A Winding Path Of Tents And Small Marquees And They Run Into A String Of Charity And Hospitality, Which At First Add To Their Disorientation, But As They Relax It Is A Sign Of A Smile. Gives.  (Jamie Detmer/Voa)

Already stunned refugees leave Ukraine in a winding path of tents and small marquees and they run into a string of charity and hospitality, which at first add to their disorientation, but as they relax it is a sign of a smile. gives. (Jamie Detmer/VOA)

There are no injuries or illnesses to be seen working with the NGO Souveters Sans Frontires, or Rescuers Without Borders, but the stories of Ukrainian refugees telling them.

A doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, shaking her head, told me about an 81-year-old woman from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, which has been besieged and shelled daily since the Russian invasion on February 24. She goes. and missiles.

A Sikh Charitable Organization Feeds Women And Children In Separate Tents For Them.  (Jamie Detmer/Voa)

A Sikh charitable organization feeds women and children in separate tents for them. (Jamie Detmer/VOA)

“She decided to move out because she thought she would die if she stayed,” he said. “And she went to a Russian soldier and told him she wanted to go to Poland and give him $20,000 in cash, her life savings. She said she didn’t know if he would shoot her. She took the money, And came back after a while and returned her $2000, took her to the next checkpoint, hugged her and passed her at the checkpoint until she reached Ukrainian-controlled territory.” “She told me she felt bad that she didn’t take the neighbors’ kids, but if things had gone wrong, she didn’t want to kill them,” he says.

Self-Styled Pilgrim Keith Wheeler Says, &Quot;People Need Food, People Need Water, People Need Medicine.  But People Need Hope More Than Anything Else.  And You Can'T Put A Price Tag On Hope.&Quot; (Jamie Detmer/Voa)

Self-styled pilgrim Keith Wheeler says, “People need food, people need water, people need medicine. But people need hope more than anything. And you didn’t put a price tag on hope.” Can.” (Jamie Detmer/VOA)


As Jeff tells it to me, one of his companions interrupts and says, “You don’t see this every day,” as he takes a quick lap of a 12-foot wooden cross pulling a small wheel of a man walking. Took a picture With the crucified top on his shoulder below. Oklahoma native Keith Wheeler has been carrying his cross around the world for 37 years, passing through 185 countries and more than 40 war zones.

“Here’s the thing,” the unarmed charming 61-year-old Wheeler tells me. “People need food, people need water, people need medicine. But people need hope more than anything. And you can’t put a price tag on hope,” he says. . In recent years the self-styled pilgrim cross-bearer has trampled through the land, which, he says, is traditionally hostile to Christians, including in Libya and Syria, where some jihadists contemplate kidnapping him, but its better thought about. He shows me a picture of him. They have been beaten in some countries, including the United States. He often makes it rough, sleeping under bridges. But strangers are often hospitable and invite them to their homes, including once a royal palace in the bay where a prince befriended them.

“I must die,” he says. “Peace begins with forgiveness,” he tells me as a parting gift.

Polish Soldiers Help Overburdened Refugees Towards Buses By Using Supermarket Chariots To Haul Goods And Small Children Are Chopped Up.  (Jamie Detmer/Voa)

Polish soldiers help overburdened refugees towards buses by using supermarket chariots to haul goods and small children are chopped up. (Jamie Detmer/VOA)

From the charitable and the merciful to the criminals and opportunists, wars attract all kinds and every kind; oddballs for philanthropists; Pacifist for the war junkie. And all of them can be encountered at the improvised camp, located just a short distance from Ukraine, which sometimes seems like a cross between a chaotic local craft fair and a circus sprung up around rock music festivals. The difference is that no one is selling anything but giving away things – from freshly cooked food to steaming cups of tea and coffee, from blankets and clothing to toys and candy for children.

“Wait,” shouts a frustrated British volunteer to his teammates when he has trouble persuading the children to take the given candy. “Wait until I see how it is said in Ukrainian for free.” The already stunned refugees leave Ukraine in a winding path of tents and small marquees, and they run into a string of charity and hospitality, which at first only add to their disorientation, but as they relax it turns into a smile. gives a signal. They are also given advice on how to reach where they want to go.

Just A Few Blocks Away From Ukraine, The Camp Sometimes Seems To Be A Cross Between A Chaotic Local Fair And The Kind Of Circus That Surrounds Rock Concerts.  The Difference Is That No One Is Selling Anything But Giving Things Away - Including Entertainment For Refugee Children.  (Jamie Detmer/Voa)

Just a few blocks away from Ukraine, the camp sometimes seems to be a cross between a chaotic local fair and the kind of circus that surrounds rock concerts. The difference is that no one is selling anything but giving things away – including entertainment for refugee children. (Jamie Detmer/VOA)

There is a flurry of languages. Volunteers and donations come from all four corners of the earth – from across Europe, the United States, Australia, Latin America, Israel; Sikhs and expatriate Chinese from India are opposed to the Communist government of China. The camp is semi-organized anarchy, and some volunteers acknowledge its shortcomings and impracticality, and say that more systematization is needed at every level of humanitarian effort, but they say it is to show Ukrainians that they are not alone. .

And who are these volunteers? They are from all walks of life and all ages. Some are idealists; Other highly realistic. Most are a mixture of both. Some have reached a crossroads in their lives. A European woman told me she was going through a midlife crisis. “I can walk somewhere on the beach, or come here to be useful,” she said. Some volunteers have links with Ukraine; Many don’t have them at all. Everyone is saddened by the plight of those trapped in the worst refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

There’s John, a New Jersey firefighter who collected $70,000 from relatives, coworkers, and neighbors and is joined by a friend who set up a feeding station for refugees. He can fix most mechanical problems. “Sometimes I put a little bit of money in the elderly’s bag when they’re not looking,” he says.

And there’s Katie Stadler, a 38-year-old Texan mother-in-law who once tried but was unable to adopt a Ukrainian teenager who later died. “I was already involved with Ukraine – it’s a big orphan crisis. And so, I already fell in love with the country and the people. I couldn’t see what was happening and something to help Didn’t,” she says.

Four-Year-Old Katie Stadler, 38, Of Texan, Says, &Quot;These Kids And These Families Who Are Coming Out Need To See That Humanity Is Still Good And People Are Still Good.&Quot; (Jamie Detmer/Voa)

“These kids and these families that are coming out need to see that humanity is still good and people are still good,” says Katie Stadler, four, of Texan, 38. (Jamie Detmer/VOA)

Before moving to Poland from her hometown of Fort Worth, Katie was giving money to a pastor in the Odessa region, who bought a van and carried food kits for those who could not or could not leave and for other people. Wanted to go to the border. After two weeks she “was in bed one night and I told my husband Matt, ‘I’m going over there’ and he said, ‘I was waiting for you to say that.’

An ex-Special Forces humanitarian worker in Warsaw questioned why Katie, who had no experience as an aid worker, had come. He growled: “Why are you here?” But Katie has earned praise for her energy and enthusiasm from some seasoned charity workers, including Heather Donnelly, filmmaker and international restaurateur Ciro Orsini, and CEO of actor Armand Asante’s charitable foundation. “She started a lot of things here,” he says.

A Volunteer With The Charitable Foundation Of Filmmaker And International Restaurateur Ciro Orsini And Actor Armand Asante Prepares Meals For Refugees.  (Jamie Detmer/Voa)

A volunteer with the charitable foundation of filmmaker and international restaurateur Ciro Orsini and actor Armand Asante prepares meals for refugees. (Jamie Detmer/VOA)

At Warsaw’s central train station, Katie says, “She befriended[who]is running transport kiosks and when people can’t pay and there’s no way for them to use government money, I use my PayPal money.” I pay together,” she says. With donations from friends, relatives and neighbours, she has helped 12 families sheltering in a Warsaw church and paid airfare for 30 families. At the border, she helps Heather. “These kids and these families that are coming out need to see that humanity is still good and people are still good,” she says.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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