This is the second installment in our multi-post series about real people of Ukraine as observed by our contriutor, Loren Braunohler. Loren is a former US diplomat who, until recently, was posted with her family in Kyiv, Ukraine. You can read the first installment here.
Ksenia and Alex
These are my friends Ksenia and Alex. They are real people of Ukraine. We met in a café near my youngest child’s preschool. It was Ksenia’s birthday that day and they were getting ready to travel to Greece to celebrate. We shared an immediate bond over our love of travel and reminisced about our adventures. They were warm and kind and you could tell that their love for one another was deep and strong.
We continued to stay in touch. Ksenia told me about all of the best kept secret spots in Kyiv and we were making plans to have an outdoor BBQ together when the weather warmed up, so that they could meet the kids and get to know my family better.
Ksenia is a dancer, Alex boxes. Together they have a beautiful life.
Before the Invasion
Ksenia and I keep in touch on social media nearly every day. She was buying beautiful spring flowers the day before the invasion took place. She and Alex were cool and composed in the face of an imminent attack; their bravery and heroism in line with what Ukrainians are showing across the country.
Since the Invasion
Earlier this week, Ksenia told me that she is sheltering with Alex’s grandmother in eastern Ukraine. Alex is fighting in a volunteer battalion. I cannot begin to imagine what their goodbye must have looked or felt like.
I’ve asked how we, as individuals, best can help. She said:
“there are a lot of people ready to stand in defense of our country, but not enough armor, helmets, walkie-talkies, knee pads, and other equipment.”
Ksenia doesn’t want to leave Ukraine because she wants to stay close to Alex and she wants to help obtain as much equipment for the volunteer battalions as she can. She says,
“We do feel support from all over the world and people all over, I’m simply unable to express how grateful we are, I can’t write without tears in my eyes.”
Stay strong and safe Ksenia and Alex. The world is on your side. We’ll have that BBQ one day.
Girl Scouts Troop 41501
These are Kyiv Junior Girl Scouts Troop 41501. They also are real people of Ukraine. My daughter had been begging me to lead a Girl Scouts Troop for years. I finally acquiesced. What a blessing it was for me. These strong, brave girls taught me so much; arguably more than I taught them.
We learned how to build fires, roast S’mores, take hikes and to navigate using compasses. We studied endangered animals, made hedgehog houses, learned about energy sources and how to be more energy efficient in our everyday lives. We made furniture from recycled material, knotted fleece tie blankets and created Christmas cards for orphanages during the holidays. We did all of this and so much more. There was so much curiousity, creativity, and laughter. We still had so many projects left to do and places to explore together. These were my daughter’s friends. These were my girls.
Two of these bright, vivacious young ladies, Katya and Lisa, are sheltering in Ukraine. Both have managed to leave Kyiv and are safe; for now. One mom says:
“Katya is really missing life before the war and meetings with her Girl Scouts Troop.”
Lisa spent a few nights in a bomb shelter and then made her way to western Ukraine, where it is safer; for now. Her father is helping to evacuate Ukrainians from the east and Kyiv to locations further west.
Please think of these girls and their families today and send them strength and courage.
#StandWithUkraine #usagso #girlscoutstrong
This is not an original post for World Moms Network from our contributor, who was formerly in Ukraine, Loren Braunohler. These posts originally appeared on Loren’s Facebook feed but are modified and reprinted here with the author’s permission. The images used in this post are attributed to the author.