4 Quick Vignettes Before Heading Home

We are currently at an airport hotel in Warsaw before heading home tomorrow. This past week just flew by and was so full; I am not quite able to wrap my arms, brain, or heart around it yet. Four short stories from the past 24 hours:

—Yesterday several new busloads of refugees arrived from Ukraine. You could tell they knew that they were midway in a journey whose end was not at all clear (would they or wouldn’t they be able to return to their homes in Ukraine??). One woman came into our dining area with 2 children, saw a whole meal that had been cooked for and was being served to them, and was completely overcome by emotion at the kindness of it all. We hugged and she said thank you many times, with a smile and tears.

—Another woman was in the dining area and her little girl came up to get an apple. We saw her tell her daughter to come back and thank us; when she returned with her big sister she just couldn’t get the words out so her sister thanked us for her, with the mother watching carefully to make sure her kids were being polite.

—As we left last night and said good-bye to the Ukrainian staff, Olga said “I will miss you so much”. I said that there would be a new batch of volunteers next week who will be just as wonderful and she replied ”But they won’t be you.” That was an important thing for me to hear and remember.

—And today, as we drove from Przemysl to Warsaw, we stopped at a rest area with the double arches of MacDonalds in the sky. And what did we see when we parked….3 World Central Kitchen food trucks (one for pizza, another for burgers, and a third for fries) providing food to the busloads of Ukrainians coming through. (There were also ”shops” with used clothes (I don’t know if they were free or if there was a charge.) World Central Kitchen is certainly an amazing enterprise that is creative and positive in meeting its mission.

9 thoughts on “4 Quick Vignettes Before Heading Home”

  1. Thanks for these touching vignettes. Makes it more real for us who have not been there like you have. The sincerity and appreciation in the “but they won’t be you” response left me shaking.

  2. Bless you Helen, Sandy and Bruce. We were with you in our hearts and minds and welcome you home with much gratitude for the work you have done. Thank you!

  3. Dear Helen, Thank you so much for giving us this up close and personal view of what you and your friends have been doing. It has been so helpful to visualize the people you met and the work you have done and so good to know that efforts like World Central Kitchen are carrying on in the heartless situation in Ukraine. Your efforts mean a great deal to us all. Very best wishes Susan

  4. Bravo Helen, Sandy and Bruce-thanks for your hard work, generosity of heart. mind, and spirit-on behalf of your selves and us all. I have read and appreciated every update penned at the beginning or end of your long days. Welcome home and best wishes for good rest and re-entry.

  5. Helen—-“but they won’t be you” sums it up beautifully. Thank you for providing all of us admirers with your running commentary discussing your experience feeding and caring for mothers and their children. Fulfillment and meaning—mission accomplished!

  6. Helen, I think we are all grateful to you and your team for doing what the rest of us could not figure out how to do or lacked then energy and daring. Thanks for your posts which provided a touch of what you experienced and how you were able to be helpful. Welcome home and hope you are pleased with what you accomplished–the individuals and families that experienced kindness, nourishment and succor in your hands.


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