Inbal is a volunteer who has been working with SSF for the past 2 months in the transit camp of Medyka, on the Ukrainian border.
Yuri, Victoria and their 2 children showed up at our tent on Wednesday night. Victoria adjusted right away and put the children to bed. I chatted with Yuri until the wee hours of the night (a little bit in English, a little bit through hand gestures, and a lot from our hearts). Yuri showed me pictures of his family when they visited Israel 3 years ago. He said they had nowhere to go, that they had been on the run for the past two months and living in their car. A couple hours later, we were able to arrange free housing for this family in a hotel room, in the neighboring town of Zhub. They will stay there three weeks until they get a visa to move to London where they will have a place to stay, fortunately.
The next day, the whole family came back to the tent with flowers to thank us, and the look on their faces, full of love and a gratitude, went much deeper than any word, in any language, possibly could. They stayed a few more hours in the tent, and they helped us clean it and get it ready for the next families.
Damien, their little boy, even showed me the bed where he had slept and said to me with a twinkle in his eye, “my home.”
Yuri, the father, recognized Misha, a 25-year-old man who had fled Kharkiv and showed up at our tent with a one-year-old. Yuri walked up to Misha, then he asked Victoria, his wife, to take care of the baby for a few minutes. Emilia was blowing soap bubbles, and they were all around Victoria and the baby. Then Yuri asked me to make coffee for Misha while he was getting him some food. Yuri arranged for Misha to take a shower, then he helped him get new clothes.
We have all had very powerful experiences in this tent.
Our team of volunteers helps the refugees take care of themselves first, and then they are able to help other refugees. We were very happy to see Yuri and his family thus start on the road to recovery.