A long Good Friday
My boss is kind, and my parents forgiving, so rather than being in the office and then at home for Easter I headed for the Order’s station at Siret, on the Ukrainian-Romanian boarder, to lend a hand as they were short of volunteers.
My Easter weekend certainly felt more ‘Good Friday’ than ‘Easter Sunday’ this year. We all know that the end of it all Sunday comes and good wins out, but for those fleeing their homes victory seems a long way away.
The Order’s work, as always, is inspirational and uplifting in its simplicity - food, water, hot tea, nappies, baby food. The group of us volunteers from Romania, Italy, and Northern Ireland, learnt the names for these in Ukrainian, and we did our best handing out supplies to those in need coming across the border.
A young mother in a purple tracksuit sticks in my mind: she was desperate to disinfect her baby’s bottle in the few short minutes her bus stopped. The relief of another when we handed out packs of nappies and fresh fruit. The buses had virtually no men on them: brothers, fathers, sons, husbands and boyfriends were all left behind to do their duty - and the sadness in the eyes of their womenfolk was clear.
We were not able to solve the real problems of those we engaged with, we were only able to do a few small things that may help, with great love. This is what the team on the ground at Siret, and in the Order’s stations across Eastern Europe, continues to do.