At the Polish Ukrainian border

At the Polish Ukrainian border

Two seats in front of me on the bus to Przemysl was a middle aged man who was clearly agitated. He rubbed his hands over his forearms repeatedly, and quickly moved his gaze from the passing farmland to his mobile phone and back. He typed messages and searched repeatedly through the pockets of his backpack. I wondered if he was headed into Ukraine. If so, his age would dictate he may be required for military service. After the bus arrived at Premzsl terminal he alighted quickly and disappeared into the crowd.

I followed him out of the bus, and after collecting my bag, walked passed a line of news vans atopped with satellite dishes. Refugees walked in groups carrying their scant belongings, and men of all ages in military fatigues loitered in groups or strode with purpose. I left the bustle of the bus terminal and entered the relatively quiet adjoining street. I soon spotted a cab, the driver of which quoted me a set price for the 14km trip to the Ukraine border. We drove in silence, through roadworks and past emergency services vehicles parked at strategic points. I admit I was a little nervous.

We pulled up a short distance from what looked like a bus stop, and the driver gestured towards the crowds milling around several stationary coaches. I paid my taxi fare, and carried my bags towards the buses. My ‘plan’ was to just walk around until I found the charity I had organised to volunteer with. Behind the buses, running perpendicular to the road, was a paved, vehicle-width path that lead away up a gradual slope. The path was lined with large white tents, and the area was abuzz with activity. Ukrainian refugees were walking down the path from the border, and aid workers in hi-viz vests were heading in all directions, some carrying bags and others pushing shopping trolleys laden with supplies. Feeling lost and a little self conscious I headed up the path, and thankfully soon came across the charity tent, staffed by volunteers of all ages and from several nations. They welcomed me into the large, well appointed camp which would be my home for the next month.

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4 thoughts on “At the Polish Ukrainian border

    1. Hi Ken, thankyou for your kind words. I know Dad and Mum would be horrified with what is happening in Ukraine. We can only hope against the odds for a swift end to the war

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