Each time an international crisis comes, we feel helpless. Unstoppable forces at work, trampling and grinding heartlessly on. There’s nothing we can do that will stop that. That needs grand actors. And we have bit parts, at that.
But with the Ukraine crisis in recent days, I’ve realised I can’t help by defending precious friends and beautiful cities with arms. I can’t go into the country to drive in rescue convoys. I can’t offer services for trauma counselling or remedial support. Etc Etc Etc.
But I realised that one relatively unique option I have is to be a kind of matchmaker. My job has taken me all over Europe over the last 15 years, including several Ukraine trips. One of the things I’ve loved about the job is that I have made friends everywhere I’ve been. They’re genuine friendships – not nodding acquaintances. I know that if I found myself stuck for a bed in any of Europe’s capitals, I would have at least one person to call for help. Such a privilege.
I have many friends in Ukraine, some still in the country (for a host of reasons), some who have managed to flee. I’ve tried to keep in touch with as many as I can. And where needed, I’ve been able to link them with people in the places they get to.
- Balkan and Baltic Countries
Some are going further afield. It’s not impossible there are links there too.
So PLEASE, let me know. This DOES work. I’ve already been able to connect people to friends in Netherlands, Hungary, Turkey, and Romania just in the last 72 hours.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to flee your country.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to arrive in a foreign country without preparation.
- You don’t know anybody.
- You don’t know the language (perhaps).
- You can’t work and have nothing to do. You don’t have the presence of mind to work even if you could.
- You have no idea when, or even, if you’ll ever get home.
- You see footage of places that mean so much to you being destroyed.
- You miss your old way of life, and you know it will never be the same again.
You’re reduced to being just a statistic.
Well, just think – this could be just one, tiny link in a chain of events to humanise and care for people who’ve lost everything.