“We could only cry when we see the ruins”


Staff member Mariya send some WhatsApp messages from the Ukrain city Dubno with the following message: Our volunteers are still in the city of Irpin, north of Kyiv, where they provide trauma care and distribute food.

The first days of our visit to Irpin we could only cry looking at the ruins. About 80 percent of the buildings have been destroyed. In the evening some of us took sedative medicines because of the many impressions. I can’t get images of the destroyed city off my mind. The people I meet can be divided into two categories. One group of people who stayed in the city during the horrific events and the other group who managed to evacuate and have now returned. Both groups need help. People have lost their homes. There is no work, so no income either. There is no electricity and cooking is done over a fire.

Island of salvation

Many people in Irpin come come to church. They often say: ‘The church is an island of salvation, in which we can forget the war for a while.’ At the same time, they also have many questions: What does tomorrow look like? How should we rebuild our environment? We don’t have answers. We can only listen to them and pray with them. They live by the day and really appreciate that someone is with them and listens to them. But what do you say to a person who comes home and finds the corpses of small children in his yard. And every day there are terrible similar stories.

Happy with red beets

When we handed out vegetables, a lady told us crying that she never thought she would be so happy to get beetroot. In the past two months she saw no vegetables, bread or water. That day, she would be able to cook ‘borsch’ (traditional soup) for the first time in a long time. The packs of salt are very valuable because there is no salt available here.

Blue and yellow flowers

Can you get used to destruction? The people here have to. A man brought yellow and blue flowers to thank us for the help. His daughter was murdered and he buried her next to his house. Many elderly people, people with disabilities can’t go to church, they can’t queue to receive vegetables. So we visit them and bring supplies. We will continue to do so as long as we can, but please pray for the team and the traumatized residents of Irpin.