I Remember You!
The door to our van had just opened after we had travelled to the village of Krashakrivnov, and a woman excited cried out "I remember you!" when she saw me.
were starting to gather in the roads for the medical clinic and food
distribution. The smiling face saw a
puzzled look on my face, and she acclaimed once more "I never forget a face. You were here before!"
This village was located one mile from the Russian – Ukrainian front line. And sure enough, we had been there once before. Nine months before. It was the village that as we approached it in July, we saw five plumes of smoke in the air, followed by a stream of people. Some in one car, many on bikes, most on feet. The site of our distribution and clinic had been rocketed by the Russians five minutes before our arrival. Fortunately, the rockets whistled over the crowd's head, destroying an empty store behind them. No one was injured and we relocated to an alternate location to give out needed meds and food items.
Now we were returning to this same village. Fortunately, this time no rockets disrupted the efforts to get food and medicines for these people in great need. Yes, there was plenty of evidence of rocket strikes to this village: Broken windows in almost every home. Many roofs and some parts of houses were destroyed. Yes, there were the constant sounds of artillery fires sounding: Imagine yourself in an intense, never-ending thunderstorm with many lightning strikes 1-2 miles away, but occasionally strikes very close by that cause you to jump and you can appreciate what it is like. This time, while we had occasional near-by strikes, there were no whistles indicating an inbound rocket that is very close by, which you will not only hear but also feel the explosion.
The elderly, the chronically ill and sometimes people who were sympathetic towards the Russians were often those who remained in these villages. Typically, over 90 percent of the people leave these villages, which often have no power, no cell phones, no operating stores.
In July, Karla and I had been struck by how these villagers in great need did not hoard. Then when we gave them medicines for diabetes, high blood pressure and non-narcotic pain medicines, they often would pass on medicines knowing that we were going to other stops that day where there would be other people in great need. Now on this return trip, we noticed increased desperation. People didn't hoard. However, they never declined, and always, always were grateful when we extended an extra months' worth of medicines to them.
You see, these villages typically all had their own pharmacies and clinics. But these activities, if they were not immediately destroyed, were often the first to flee the villages when they came under fire. As a result, the closest pharmacy was over an hour away IF you had fortune to have access to a car that could drive that distance. Almost everyone there did not.
It was a blessing to have received generous donations so that we could bring medicines that were so need for people in great need. They were grateful, and amazingly remember these small acts to help them.