Extraordinary ways people are helping people

Imagine having severe physical disabilities and because of the invasion you are making the decision to leave family and country with the likelihood you may never see them again.

Crossing the border from Poland into Ukraine we met  Lucas (lives in Poland near German border), Paulina (Ukrainian living in Poland) and Matin (from Warsaw) who have been organizing transportation of severely disabled adults by ambulance or bus from Ukraine to Hanover, Germany.  They are just three people who saw a need. They have facilitated 20 trips and the transporting of over 300 people.

They invited us to join them to help prepare these adults to go by a greyhound size bus 15 hrs. to Hanover, Germany.  These adults came by cars and vans from all over Ukraine, meeting the bus at the Lviv  central train station. The bus had space for eight people laying down, double-stacked, and 20 people in seats.  No bathroom. There were four assistants accompanying them.  Family cannot go.

The people laying down were paralyzed in varying degrees. We spoke with several of the people on the bus using google translate.  They smiled at our attempt to speak Ukrainian.  A supremely human moment where we couldn’t speak each others language but we understood with a touch and a smile.

They will be staying in facilities with 24 hr care, including medical and physical therapy.  They will not be asked to leave the facility after the war is over.

A group called PTAHA,  who are 24 hr a day volunteers at the train station, helped move these adults from wheelchairs and gurneys onto the bus.  These volunteers provide anyone coming to the train station with medical or psychological help.

We sat with these paralyzed adults witnessing the wife kissing her husband goodbye for the final time, a mother saying goodbye to her son and one man who had no one saying goodbye – this moment took our breath away.

A transient meeting at the border gave us an opportunity to see extraordinary ways people are helping people.

Tama Adelman

Reflections from the Hands on Global team in Ukraine.