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Ukraine: The Eastern Front and Families

On bad roads, it is a 2/12 hour drive from Zaparosia (the nearest big city) to the border of the war between Ukraine and Russia. The road we took us to a village neighborhood. We got out and walked past empty and bullet ridden houses. Here and there one had collapsed from a mortar or rocket. The street ended at a field. DONT GO OUT THERE. Someone behind me said. About 300-500 meters away (Im not a good judge of distances) was a building occupied by the other side. Even that morning, someone in that village had been shot.

It's not a dramatic moment to stand there. The war is more than four years old. The drama is gone. No one wants or expects to win a war. People just want their homes and former lives back. Below, at the border village, is Nataliia Aliabieva from the Catholic relief organization, Caritas, and behind in blue and gray is JoAnn Wheeler from First Pres. Vero Beach, FL

Nataliia Aliabieva from Caritas, behind, JoAnn Wheeler from First Pres Vero Beach, Fl.

These are the faces of families that live in Zaparosia who have attended the summer Peace Camp designed, funded and managed by This Child Here.

They have all lost homes and jobs in Donetsk, Lugansk or other cities now occupied by Russian soldiers and Ukrainians called Separatists. JoAnn and I visited their homes (most of whom live in single room apartments or dormitories) and took them to dinner in a restaurant in Zaparosia (Thank you First Pres Vero Beach for sponsoring that meal, and our taxi ride to the border.)

JoAnn Wheeler from the Mission Committee of First Presbyterian Vero Beach, FL

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