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democracy Ukraine

Ukraine Update 05

It’s been too long since you last received an update from us. For the last three days, we’ve been on the road, with varying access to internet and email. We do not expect things to get easier any time soon, but we’re thankful that we have the opportunity to help, in however big or small way we can.

It’s been nearly three weeks since the war broke out, and we’re starting to learn that humans are remarkably good at adapting to new situations, even if these are terrible. In a way, people here in Romania have almost gotten used to the war, a new rhythm of life has been embraced, where insecurity and anxiety about the future is the norm. I guess this is just how we, as people everywhere, survive.

As for us, we’ve stopped watching the news. We hear enough stories every day from the people we are receiving from Ukraine, and, while staying up to date with the major headlines and trends, we simply do not have the capacity to follow every live update.

After our friends at the borders started seeing people carrying elderly, disabled and wounded people in their arms and on their backs, they made an urgent request for help. As a response, on Monday morning, we filled up a van that was generously provided for us by a local rental company, with strollers, wheelchairs, crutches and other essentials as requested by the National Emergency Response Unit, along with the National Veteran’s Association in Galati, the town where Liviu was born.

Yesterday, we delivered the equipment on three border crossings along the South-Eastern border of Romania. We met with our new friends, the National Veteran’s Association in Galati, who are doing amazing work to help the refugees in that part of Romania. Their club house has temporarily been transformed into a living area for women and children, and as you see from the pictures, they have made space to receive many more. We feel humbled and privileged to work together with these heroes, each of them having a story to share from different combat areas across the world that would give you goosebumps and make you cry.

As we crossed the Danube on a ferry yesterday to reach the border at Isaccea, we met a crew of Ukrainian film-makers who are working on a documentary about what is happening. Before we knew it we were on camera being interviewed about our experience helping Ukrainian refugees. We had a good laugh about it in the car afterwards, as we realised we had no idea who these people were, and if they truly were making a documentary or if we had got ourselves caught up in some Russian spy movie. However, we later met them in Isaccea, and we exchanged our contact information. We hope they will make it to the Venezia Documentary Film Festival!

Today, we are taking our remaining goods and driving north to Siret, where we have a large network of helpers, some of whom have been instrumental in helping us with the extraction of people from the war-torn regions and cities of Ukraine over the last couple of weeks. Just a few days ago, with the help of our friends in Siret and across the border in Ukraine, we were able to extract an elderly lady, 85 years old, who was hiding out in a bathroom in Kyiv all by herself since the war broke out. You can only imagine our tears of joy when we received the news that she had made it on the train out of Kyiv. Thanks to all your support, we were able to bring her to safety and reunite her with her family in Chisinau, where she is now staying. We look forward to meeting the volunteers in Siret and giving them our thanks in person. We will also take this opportunity to make an assessment of the situation on the ground, and discuss how we can continue to be of help.

Thanks to all your support, we were able to bring her to safety and reunite her with her family in Chisinau, where she is now staying.

Among the latest refugees we have received is a family with three large dogs, as you can see in the picture below. It has been a long and difficult process to extract this family. We received the young lady with the three dogs on Saturday, separated from husband and exhausted from driving for two full days in addition to the long wait at the border. The dogs are enjoying some lazy days at the Ham Ham hotel, which is a hotel for dogs just up the road from where we live. Miraculously, the Ham Ham hotel generously offered accommodation to these three refugee dogs, free of charge.

The elderly mother of the lady arrived with a bus the following day. The husband, who is a professional photographer, is still in Ukraine, waiting for a chance to leave and join her. Until then, we are preparing a house for the whole family, where they can stay medium- to long-term.

As the war rages on, a lot of new challenges are rising to the surface. We know that among all the good and generous people around us, there are also some with bad intentions. We worry, knowing that human trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable people is on the rise. We hope the many good-hearted and well-intended volunteers also understand the importance of the systems and safeguards that are in place, even if they might look like unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. Women and children, elderly and disabled people who are fleeing from war are particularly vulnerable and ready to receive help wherever it is offered. To uphold their dignity and make sure they know they can trust us, we’ve had our official “emergency response” tags printed with our contact information and the name of our organisation, and we make sure they are visible every time we meet refugees on the border.

We’re still in contact with several families in Ukraine who are preparing to leave the country. Among them is an elderly lady (90 years old) and a young lady who’s seven months pregnant. We’re preparing to receive them, making sure they will have all the rest, comfort and medical attention they need as soon as they make it across our border.

As always, if you have any questions about what is going on, or suggestions for people we should be in touch with, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you know anyone who would like to contribute or who would like to receive our updates, please tell them to get in touch with us. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@polylogos.eu).

We stay humble and grateful for all your continuous support. Thank you for entrusting us to do this work on your behalf! We’re all in this together.

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