As we drive down a bumpy country lane through a small village in northern Ukraine, we spot a babushka painting the windowsills of her modest home. Her roof is covered in a large sheet of blue plastic with the logo for Samaritan’s Purse on it. The chimney protrudes from a large cut-out in the plastic.
Vera sees us, guests in her community. As we get out of the parked van, she leaves her task and gestures over the fence for Wendy and I to come to her gate. Vera welcomes us with a big smile and with more gestures invites us into her yard, and then into her humble home.
As Tanya, Mary’s sister, brings supplies to Vera, she is available to translate for us. Vera has no family here and lives alone. We see the damaged ceiling and the furniture covered in plastic as she tells us that her roof leaks and much of her furniture has water damage. Vera cries as she tells us of the bombs, her fear, her loneliness and her damaged home. We hug her and our tears flow and we ask ourselves “Why”? Why this injustice? Why this suffering?
As we begin to leave, she stops us, quickly grabs a bag and picks apples off her tree for us. We move towards her front gate and once again she stops us and quickly picks some grapes for us as well. She is so generous with the little that she has, and as she goes back to her painting we are moved to tears once again.