I never thought I would be doing this....私はこれをやろうとは思っていませんでした.....2nd March 2022
When I set out to write this week's blog it was all going to be beautiful nature photographs and the promise of spring 春 . Not much chance of that now. It is the 5th or 6th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. No need to elaborate here - we have all seen the pictures and reports in the media. A Ukrainian friend of mine had already sent me these pictures from central Frankfurt. A collection point for donations.
Then I heard about a plan that was in action locally. A transport firm were providing five coaches which were to be driven to the Polish / Ukrainian border. And they would be packed full of donations for the flood of refugees fleeing the war. Mostly women and children apparently. My depressive mood lifted immediately. I cando something I thought, however small. I immediately went up into my attic and brought down a rucksack, an inflatable mattress, a sleeping bag, and a pile of woollen sweaters. I called my neighbour and asked her to drive me to the collection point, as I had no car.
The donation drop-off site was a buzz of activivity, with a steady stream of cars arriving and leaving. I handed over my stuff, was thanked and quickly moved on.
The atmosphere was urgent and rather tense. This was no party. I asked the guy in charge what it was they really needed most of all. " Medicines, hygiene products, things for children etc. etc." was the answer.
So today my son and I got on our bikes - each with 2 panniers - and did a sweep of the local drugstore in Langen. It's called Rossman, and is a bit like Boots the chemist in the UK. So there we were, walking up and down the aisles, thinking..."what would you need if you had just walked over the Polish border with a couple of small children in tow?". Into the trolley went soap, disinfectant, plasters, toothpaste, batteries, nappies, energy bars and sweets.......
Oh, and toilet paper. What has happened to our world I thought. Is this real? Yes, it is. There is war in Europe.
We then cycled the two or more kilometers to Sprendlingen, to the collection point.
A beautiful cycle it has to be said, through quiet fields. A buzzard circling overhead, crows feeding on the ground, a robin in the hedgerow. Passing joggers and dog walkers - all enjoying a perfect early spring day. We arrived to the sight of several big coaches parked together, and, like yesterday, there was a steady stream of people arriving with bags, boxes, and, well anything really......
I asked the woman who took our stuff about the organisation. "It's a group of friends" she said. "I am Polish myself, and know people in the Polish Red Cross. They are at the Ukrainian border, trying to deal with all the people arriving...." "Thank you so much....".
So it was a local private initiative, and they were working fast. The first coach was just leaving. as we arrived. I checked Google maps. It is a 13-hour drive to the Ukrainian border - about 1300 kilometres. "They will have two drivers" she said. We wished them good luck and set off back home.
Here is a picture I took soon afterwards. It is a little flower springing out of an old post. A sign of hope maybe.
That's it for today. I cannot write anymore. Thank you for reading this post. If you want to get announcements of new posts, fill in the subscribe form at the top. Thank you!
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