Somehow, the ball keeps rolling in front of my feet. This has resulted in the widest variety of experiences in the recent crazy years. Since the war, I’ve been a bit down because I just can’t get it off my mind. I am also rather ashamed to admit that it was much more poignant at first than it is now, even though the disaster is getting worse.
The couple from Kiev
The day before the war began, some friends of ours welcomed a young couple from Kiev. Now they can’t go back, and in just a few days’ time the place they were staying has been rented out to other guests. My girlfriend Steef asked whether we could live temporarily in one house, instead of two separate ones.
So, we’re going to be living at Steef’s place and the couple will stay in my little house. It’s great to have “helping” handed to you on a platter. Last week we arranged a meeting to show them the house. It is not finished yet and very small, so I was a bit worried they wouldn’t like it, but they seemed happy enough and we had a drink afterwards. We were quite conscious of not mentioning the war too much, but they couldn’t stop talking about it themselves. The strange thing is that you would think we hear about almost everything that is happening on the news, but this is not the case.
The couple told us that they’d expected the Russians to be welcomed with open arms by many people in the Ukraine, but that they have smashed their own windows by starting the bombardment. The sentiment of the pro-Russian part of the population turned and they became just as anti-Russian as the rest. Most Ukrainian people thought that their own president behaved like a clown after the last elections, but now they are all right behind him. The most extreme story they told us, was about two of their nieces who lived in Kiev (I think it was Odessa). They were hiding in shelters because of the bombing. They called their mother who lives in Crimea and told her they were being bombed. Their mother replied that it was not true, and that it was Ukrainian propaganda.
I explained that we were planning to donate a weekends revenue from the restaurant and asked how best to go about it. My concern is that I want my guests to know that everything they pay is really going to be spend locally in the Ukraine. They said that a donation to the National Bank of Ukraine is the simplest and most effective. The bank has set up accounts to which you can make a donation. We also did our own research and found an organization in Eindhoven (Samen voor Eindhoven) that works closely with the Ukrainian aid organization East Europe Foundation (EEF) for The Shelter Project. Samen voor Eindhoven is our local party that ensures that everything paid by our guests in the restaurant in the coming weekend, 26 – 27 March, will be transferred directly to the right bank account in the Ukraine.
I have also wondered whether some people might not agree with an idea like this (except perhaps some Russians). Luckily, it has been met with positive reactions and after we had decided to go ahead with it, I was asked what we are actually doing for the Ukraine. I was a bit irritated – as if there aren’t enough reasons not to make a donation. It should not be an obligation. Fortunately, I was able to give the desired answer to a somewhat tendentious question; we’re doing something!
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