I need to tell you about my experience in Ukraine, that was neither what I expected nor what you would expect from a photographer and writer going to a warzone.
I was alone in Ukraine. A mother of 2, a blogger, a South African who does not speak a stitch of Ukrainian and who was travelling in a war zone with zero friends or connections! It was during those first couple days that I self-diagnosed myself as stark-raving mad, however that kind of thinking did not make things better or change the fact that ‘it's too late baby girl, you’re already in Ukraine.
He took her hand for the first time. He was finally old enough to marry her. From then on, Alexander and Tatiana would walk together; again and again and again and even now, when their road is wounded with gaping holes, bombed and obliterated and no longer exists.
I’m learning that despite the worst of humanity being in the spotlight, it is also a time when we see humanity at its best and how powerful it is, how it prevails. How what you give out, counts. How your actions have a ‘ripple effect’ that goes on and on, that feeds into a culture and that becomes our experience.
The touching few moments of pets and Ukrainian owners being reunited.
It's an emotional goodbye for all of us. In the space of 48 hours, we have gotten to know each other and have become friends. It’s quite remarkable how in a short space of time, friendship comes easy despite our different backgrounds. We all have one thing in common, to support Ukraine in whichever way can. Each of us has the ability to do that in our own way, but ‘this minivan,’ is how we’d get there! We are a group of 5. One Israeli who spent much of his childhood in Russia, a Czech fitness specialist, a Dutch videographer, a Ukrainian refugee and a South African.
Tonight we drive! Join Rosie Goes on this journey into Ukraine!
If someone had told me 3 weeks ago that I would soon be boarding a plane and heading North to Ukraine, I’d probably laugh. But that’s it, I’m not going to laugh anymore because I am discovering that since starting Rosie Goes – the most incredulous things happen at exactly the right time, taking me on a journey with a very definite purpose – in pursuit of humanKIND.
I thought about it and all the things that scared me. The fear of the unknown, the volatility and unpredictable nature of war, the potential dangers, not knowing the language, knowing very little about Ukraine itself like its geography, its history, its economy and then of course, there is the issue of my own finances! How on earth can I afford this anyway?! I thought of a thousand reasons why I should not do this. But I also thought of the two reasons why I should do this.
In the last couple years, I have learned that life works in mysterious ways. One day I would like to write about this, about what has happened for me to get to where I am now and where I am going to go. This is just the beginning but it’ s unfolding in spectacular ways and in a way that feels like life is 'flowing,' and as if I am being taken on a journey.