A month into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the residents of Wrocław seem to be more organized and optimistic about the services that are being provided to Ukrainian refugees.
As I recently took a trip down to the central train station, I noticed that there were significantly less people in the temporary refugee outposts than there had previously been. The Polish volunteers who wear the neon-green vests are constantly ushering refugees to different points where they can get information related to basic services like housing, food, clothes, transportation to other parts of Wroclaw and even basic medical treatment as well as.
The whole city in general has Ukrainian signs all over with messages of encouragement and support not just blue and yellow flags. I see more smiles on people’s faces, refugees and Wroclavians alike and it’s probably due to a few factors. One factor being that most Poles in the city are getting used to the “new reality” of the sudden influx of new people into the city and still have a positive and welcoming attitude towards the refugees. Many Ukrainians are being reunited with friends and family causing the initial shock of the war to wear off. They feel safe in our city and the positive effect is visible. Another factor contributing to the overall positive atmosphere in Wroclaw is due to the fact that spring is officially here. The days are not only longer, but slowly getting warmer as well which means that summer is right around the corner and Wroclaw just can’t wait!
But, for many refugees they have no or limited contacts in Poland and are dealing with the reality of “what happens now”. They are safe from the war in Ukraine but need to figure out what to do next. Churches, organizations, the city, and individuals are offering housing, help with finding jobs, organizing daycare centers for children, assistance in getting children into schools, and in dealing with government officials. Besides, most refugees are in constant contact with their relatives who stayed in Ukraine. They worry about them very much.
Please continue to pray for all aspects of this new reality.
Gabriel Calderon (EST student)