Ukraine Series Background: Jason Williams first went to Ukraine in 2017 to do humanitarian work. He returned again in May 2023 to provide food, clothing, and medicine to war victims. This trip was not related to politics or foreign policy but a private charity trip. His observations were shared with the Taxpayers Association of Oregon Foundation to give readers a rare insight into life, charity work and everyday realities inside a nation at war.
Our team had the honor of visiting injured soldiers at a local hospital.
Four patients were often crowded in a room meant for two. Patient beds were stacked side-by-side. Despite the graphic wounds and missing limbs, many of the soldiers we met were upbeat, positive, and eager to rejoin their friends in their units.
Because of so many causalities in the war, wounded soldiers are shipped all across the country to any local hospital with a spare room. These men find themselves a long way from family, friends, and their military units.
It is common for Ukrainian soldiers to refrain from informing their families when they are hospitalized so as not to worry them. One member of our team shared on how this was a tradition practiced by his family in Croatia (a nearby Eastern European nation) when his uncle was at war. The downside is that these men experience extremely long bouts of isolation and utter boredom. Our team brought food, gifts, and fancy greetings cards, each signed by everyone on the team.
Before the war, men from a church or a community volunteer would visit male patients in the hospital for support. Those volunteers are now missing as they were called up for military duty. This represents a third major reason why these soldiers receive few visitors and are suspended in a surreal isolation zone. It reflects the importance of people, even foreigners, to show up and simply say “hello” like our team did.
Hospitals closer to the war zone are experiencing a completely different set of conditions as they are consistently overwhelmed.
One hospital in the city of Dnipro, just a few hours from the front lines, can witness a 100 wounded coming through their doors in a single night.
Hospitals are not immune from the rocket attacks.
(*** GRAPHIC IMAGE AHEAD ***)
The World Health Organization has documented 226 Russian attacks on health-care targets.
As our team was leaving Ukraine, another attack on a hospital occurred.
Our host texted us images of the attack (see below) on a hospital in Dnipro.
The images our host sent us were more graphic than the images from America media which tended to show only destroyed buildings.
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– For reasons of security and discretion, few photos inside the hospital were taken and are additionally not being shown. Lead photo is a stock photo.