Ukraine volunteer

On the ground: Volunteering, observing and NATO

It’s 5:30 in the morning. I’ve just returned from a 24-hour volunteer journey where I accompanied an animal rescue mission in the heart of Ukraine. Significant battles here in spring of 2022 dictate the status quo which is a fairly neutral standoff. Mile after mile present scenes of horror followed by signs of hope and courage. I’ve been fortunate in Ukraine, meeting volunteers and friends who’ve welcomed me greatly. This is the vibe here and my interaction with locals has been great. Initially in Ukraine, I linked up with members on the outskirts of Lviv who were attending the International Art Residency, an EU supported delegation to Ukraine. You can read about the conference here. Many of the artists are quite young so I’m excited to see where their artistic journeys lead them in the years to come.

Back to the animal rescue mission where I tagged along with Ali, an experienced courier who has long ties to Ukraine. He’s been visiting the region for over a decade and volunteering his services and skills since the beginning of the war. His courier missions include transporting medical supplies, food, clothing, animals and just about anything else which can help those in need. I don’t know how to describe the emotions I felt this evening as we returned home but we sat with ample time to digest the scenes from earlier this day as a one-way drive took nearly 9 hours. Disgusted, sad, confused, curious and impressed are a few words I can use to describe these emotions. Disgusted with a lack of emotion humans possess when it comes to the lives of others. Confused by a lot here which includes the western response and the agenda on all sides.

Why is this happening? How far back in history does this take us? Where is the money coming from and where is it going? Confusion leads to curiosity. Naturally, I want to know more about this significant event, sorry, this war, which is going on in present day. It doesn’t appear NATO is honoring their word. War is taking place, we are likely long overdue for considering sweeping change to, or abolishment of NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 to act as a deterrent to Soviet threats throughout Europe. NATO clearly missed the ball here. It appears NATO is more of a power alliance, controlled by a few countries, manipulating smaller members with tactics in support of a specific and fear based agenda. In my opinion, we’d be wise to question the agenda, tactics and basic existence of this political and military alliance.

Yes, I understand Ukraine is not in NATO, therefore, easily manipulated to change their ways. Otherwise, their citizens will die, just like what has been happening for nearly a decade now, fighting with Russia. NATO essentially says, come with us or you’re on your own. Yes, USA is offering some assistance but this is truly a fight between west (NATO) and what the west calls communism. Ukraine is the proxy. USA has nothing to lose, nobody in danger, so a slow play is acceptable while tens of thousands from Ukraine and Russia die. This, my friends, is the real world. It almost feels as if this war is….

So, here I am, moving around in Ukraine, learning local stories, helping those in need with whatever I can find and writing about the journey in hopes of inspiring others to not only get involved and support those affected by the current war in Ukraine but hopefully take a look behind the scenes of this international political game. A resource for doing this? You’ll have to find yourself but I believe the search begins with a whole lot of common sense. I will speak to those on all sides in order to get a better understanding of the situation here. Impressed with the response to destruction. Roads and buildings are rebuilt and repaired at rapid pace. I am still a bit concerned with the distribution of resources but again, this is war. It’s ugly, a bit of a justification for when corruption, typically held tightly, is exposed to the public.

If you know anything about war, it’s not the real world. Understatement. Rules and laws are not always followed. In the west, we’ve been programmed to strictly adhere to laws and norms so this may be hard for many of you to hear. In wartime, just about anything goes but I think and hope the authorities are doing their best and we ought to offer benefit of the doubt while also demanding accountability.

I will add this in closing, I am against war and violence of any kind and for any reason. My desire to help others and curiosity of the relationship between these two regions at war are quite intriguing. So here I am, I will be volunteering my time, skills and labor for several more weeks in Ukraine. Click here for more on volunteering and/or if you have interest in volunteering in Ukraine. There are many opportunities to get involved and it’s quite easy. As always, drop a comment below or message me on social.

Travel blogger. Solo/budget traveler living on my terms, visiting and "living like a local" in unique and interesting places, some which most people don't hear about and certainly do not live in. It's an interesting lifestyle which I make happen on a modest budget. Join me, let's go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *