First of all I want to thank you, Tadje Orthopaedics, I don't think this trip would have been possible without your help. I don't know if it was the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, Meloxicam, prayers, or a combination, but my knee did great! We did a lot of traveling and walking that otherwise I would not have been able to do. THANK YOU!
The main reason for this trip was to distribute a shipping container of wheelchairs but because of the election that was going on in Ukraine, customs was shut down and the container was not released until today (6/23/19). We still were able to visit many people who received wheelchairs last year. One man had lost both his legs shortly after WWII when he was nine. He went outside his home and stepped on a land mine. For about 70 years he has gotten around his house pushing himself on a pallet of wood with some wheels attached. He was so happy to be able to go outside! Another teenage girl is now able to go to school and wants to become a lawyer. Then another woman had not been outside for over 8 years and she loves her garden. A lot of these folks are refugees from Crimea. They fled with only a suitcase when Russia invaded. Or they came from the bombed out villages along the war front that is happening now. A lot of the families are living in a one room apartment and share a bathroom and kitchen with all the other families on that floor.
After being in the hustle-bustle of Kiev, it was shocking to see what the public hospitals are like. After going through the first one I felt numb. After seeing a few more I just felt sad and angry. The buildings are very old, some from the late 1800's. They keep them as clean as they can and they work with what they've got. Most of the beds and examining furniture are from the Soviet days. Tanya, the Ukraine director of Serve Now said when she gave birth to her son nine years ago, there was no running water. Her husband was not allowed to visit so she would go to the window, call for him, lower a string three storied down so he could tie a bottle of water to it. Can you imagine not being able to clean up after giving birth? Not much has changed since then. The good news is because Sweden has social medicine, they have a warehouse full of medical furniture and equipment that Serve Now is free to take. They have to pay the shipping cost of $15,000. Money has been raised for a container to go in the fall and we're now working on getting another sent next spring. The need is so great.
We also went to a Roma Gypsy Village outside of Uzhhorod where girls are given a chance and hope to escape human trafficking. We visited several orphanages outside of Kiev and Lviv. One of the girls who went is an artist so we supplied brushes, paint and canvases and had art classes with the kids. They just need a little love and hope, it goes a long way!
Even with all the need in Ukraine, the people are amazing. They are a resilient people with a lot of heart. They will make sure you are treated to tea and cookies when they don't have enough. It's a country of great need that has my heart. This only scratches the surface from this trip.
So, again, thank you for helping make this possible.
Please see links below for additional information regarding this mission trip.