I am learning and discovering all the time

Yesterday afternoon, i took a walk outside of TESCO to get some fresh air. I found a colorful tent at the edge of the parking lot. The tent and the area around it had been converted into a play area for children. There were balls and bikes and bats and smiling faces. i struck up a conversation with a man by the entrance. He was from another organization. I can’t remember its name, but i could easily call it engineers without borders. This group helps out fixing thing; heat, electricity, structural issues, etc, when there are disasters. In Przemsyl, another Israeli organization, has been given some old buildings by the city. They are using the building as housing for displace Ukrainians who want to stay in Przemsyl, hoping to return to Ukraine and so don’t want to go to other countries. His group is doing all the fixing and maintenance on them.

Contrary, to what i thought, TESCO Humanitarian Center moves people through, usually, in less then a week. So we are seeing new faces all the time and say goodbye to others whose faces i recognize from seeing them for a few days. Where do they go? This morning, to took a walk around the inside of the building. I found storefronts with different flags above the entrance; some with one, others with 2 or 3. They all had beds inside. This is where people wait until transportation arrangements are made for a journey to their new beginning. How hard it is to think about all these families have endured just to get to Poland and now are heading to a distant place where nothing is familiar and their life will begin anew, and how it must it feel to just be waiting. I met a family that was going to London and then on to Denmark. This morning, we had to pack up enough food for 50 people taking a 4 day bus ride to Spain. They and others are making these journeys leave behind all that is familiar and most are leaving behind husbands and fathers.

Serving food the this group is a mixture of hard work to help now and hope for a better future for those we serve. I’m beginning to understand a few Ukrainian words. Words like more, a little and thank you. I’ve learned that welcoming by saying hello in english is ok and appreciated and remembering faces so I can wave to them the next time they come in. This morning, i gave a candy bar to a young mother. it was just for her and she smiled, a gave another one to a hardworking volunteer from the center who had noticed that we were out of bottled water and brought us several cases of it. He said i had made his day and there was the mother of two children who came to get a bag of cookies. I put 2 small packets of gummy bears in my hand and secretly showed them to her and asked if it was ok She said yes. i gave them to the children. They were both delighted, She said “Thank you for asking.”, I said “I’m a grandfather” and smiling, she said, ”So you understand.” The nice things we do for each other help relieve some of the grief and sorrow that this war brings. Shortly before the end of the shift, a woman that Helen had met came with her teenage some whose birthday it waw. Helen led us as we sang happy birthday; everyone joined in and applauded when it was over.

Good night for now. Forgive typos and other mistakes. 12 hour shifts don’t leave much time at either end of the day, but is all worth it.

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