We had spent the day organising and delivering aid, and by early evening had worked up a hunger. On my mate’s recommendation, we decided to go to a Georgian restaurant for dinner. Being a Saturday night, the place was humming with patrons, and we were lucky to squeeze in to the last free table.
My friends explained kihnkali to me: the traditional Georgian dumplings that look like little upside-down mushrooms. We ordered a plate of these and another couple of dishes to share, and sat back to talk about the day and the big trip we had planned for the morrow.
We were half way through our meal when a waitress arrived carrying a tray with a small carafe and glasses. She placed it on the table, and spoke to our Ukrainian team-mate. We were a lttle confused as our drinks order had already arrived. The waitress left and our friend explained: ‘The waitress said that the table over there, with the three people who have now left, bought the whiskey for us. They wanted to say thankyou for the work we are doing’.
I can’t imagine that the table of three Ukrainians knew who we were particularly, but apart from our local team member we are obviously foreigners. Ukraine isn’t the place for a holiday right now, so foreign strangers hanging around with a uniformed Ukrainian is a pretty clear indication we are here trying to help.
Although we do not seek, nor feel we deserve recognition, after a long and busy week we were grateful and humbled to receive the kindness of strangers.
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