Ola Hera is an extraordinary person. She has been with us at the Good Factory almost from the very beginning. For the past two weeks, she has been a key member of the team working on the Ukrainian side of the border. We spent long hours together, helping freezing and hungry people fleeing the war. Ola is a Ukrainian national. Although we help people every day, it is she who can make us feel small with her empathy for the needs of others. She grew up 30 kilometres from the Polish-Ukrainian border, just a few kilometres from where we operate every night.
The last time she saw her mother was in June last year. And although she had been in such close proximity for the past two weeks, she was unable to hug her, to spend some time with her, to talk about the fact that everything had suddenly changed in their homeland. They talked on the phone, but could not look into each other’s eyes and see how much fear and uncertainty there was about what awaited their homeland and their family.
Today we provided aid to people waiting for transport to the border at the bus station in Chyrów. We also visited the school in Chyrów, which has been serving as a reception point for refugees from the east of the country for the past two weeks. Finally, we all decided that Ola’s mother was too close not to go and pay her a short visit.
We drove in silence. For Ola, the road home did not feel like the one she knew from her childhood. We passed military checkpoints, ready to resist enemy attack.
We arrived in Dobromil. There were tears and joy. Among all the encounters that we have had in recent days, it was today that we really understood how difficult it is to be separated from your loved ones, when tomorrow becomes so uncertain. Such dramatic events have been taking place here for two weeks. There are hundreds of thousands of such cases. Ola has helped us today to understand how heartrending it is to see people hugging each other, saying goodbye and having absolutely no idea when they will see each other again.