In January I, spontaneously, booked a trip to Ukraine. Normally I wouldn’t spend money on organized traveling, I prefer to go cheap and do it myself. However, this wasn’t an ordinary trip, it had the purpose of handing out food parcels and spreading some warmth among the Ukrainian Jewish communities.
We left at the end of February to Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. After a 2 hour flight we arrived and were brought to the so-called shelter. This house is literally a shelter for people who have fled the eastern part of Ukraine where a war is taking place. The next day, after visiting the atrocious mass grave Babi Yar, we were on our way to our ‘home base’ for the week in Vinnytsia, from where we would drive each day to a new destination so serve the community.
My idea of going on this trip was to bless those who were in need of love and food, yet I found myself to be the one blessed beyond I’d imagined. It was touching and inspiring to meet people who have nothing and yet are the most grateful and happiest people I have met. We were able to spread some love, give them food to endure the winter and pray with them. I never left a home without receiving love and kind words back.
Some valuable lessons were learnt that week. If all else fails, there are 2 things we need in life: 1. friends and family – a loving environment – and 2. music. Every home we entered had instruments to be played and it seems like everyone can sing. Music is a universal language and brought us altogether despite language and cultural differences. At the end of each day it was music that connected us, and we could sing all troubles away. Children would dance for us and it was like they were not aware at all of the financial struggles their parents go through, making so many efforts to put bread on the table, or that they are refugees. It were these two components, music + people, that make life worth living for when you have nothing materialistic.