Day 2 – Food, food, play with children, food

Today we learned several things. 1) fewer people came into the shelter today because, we heard, there were bombings in Odessa and people were sheltering in Odessa and the surrounding area. It was quieter today in the shelter than yesterday. 2) there was a breakout of illness – assuming some kind of stomach illness. We were told by the Health Department not to let people, other than us, touch the food- no self-service. 3) we’re beginning to learn the ebbs and flows of the shelter – who stays, who moves on quickly, who are the more-or-less permanent residents.

Note: we are asked not to photograph the refugees, so all the pictures of people are other volunteers and staff of WCK.

Best thing from today… There was a young mom with her 2 kids at a table in front of our working area. She was with her 1+ daughter and 5yo son. Her daughter was irritable and unhappy. Her son looked dazed, with deadened eyes that were sunken into himself. I went over to their table and waved and smiled at the baby. She smiled back. Then I got some cardboard drink lids and gave them to the baby to bang. She took to it right away and we played banging the lids. Then I started rolling the lids to the 5yo, and he rolled them back. This turned into a game that mom got into too. I was amazed by the light that came into the boy’s eyes and his delight at the game. It’s like he woke up, his eyes brightened and he had an alive smile. Such a dramatic change. I gave the baby a squeeze packet of applesauce. The mom was so relieved, she gave me a big, tight hug when we finished. I was so relieved, and satisfied, that I could bring a few minutes of joy to this little family. There was almost no verbal communication – neither of us spoke the other’s language. Shows you what communication can happen without words.

Very sleepy, so signing off.

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