Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Russians Continue To Devastate Ukraine

Apartment Houses, shopping malls, and medical training facilities. These are definitely military targets, NOT. What a bunch of assholes. 

Do watch the videos. Hero's one and all. 

Here's the latest from Alex:

 Dear friends,

Last Saturday Zhitomir oblast as well as Kyiv, Chernigov and Lviv oblasts were under mass rocket fire.

Sasha the shoemaker who lives with me woke me up and crying: “We are bombed get out of the house!” The sounds were very loud, the cars’ alert systems went on, the people from the neighboring houses were outside.

Later I found out from the Zhitomir governor's speech: “As of 4:15 am, the enemy once again launched missile strikes on Zhytomyr Oblast!

Missiles were launched from aircraft coming from Belarus. A total of 24 missiles were launched at military units and facilities around Zhytomyr.

I can't comment on where, how or whether there were any casualties.”

Only today was confirmed that all these missiles were aimed at the training center outside of Zhitomir. This is where dr.Judah and I were given training to the military paramedics. So I right away imagined all these people I met there and prayed for them.

Now we know about one dead soldier and two wounded.

Almost the same time Kyiv was under attack too. The missile hit the apartment house not far from Metro Station Lukjanovska, this is one of the central districts in Kyiv, not far from the central Archives in Kyiv, where I used to work with documents. Unfortunately this attack changed the life of one family forever. The father got killed right away, the mother is in critical condition in one of Kyiv's hospitals and a seven year old girl had a couple surgeries and according to the doctors has no threats to her life.


One of the analysts says that Putin wants to drag the war till winter. When Europe will need the most natural gas to heat their homes this might be pressure points for Ukraine to negotiate on not favorable positions and sacrifice some territory.

Food and energy will be number one for Ukraine to survive this coming winter.

It’s God's timing to start the farming initiative project in Vigoda. Due to generous support from friends from the US and Canada I purchased last Friday a 40HP tractor, a farming mill, a plough, discs, hay cutter and a wood chipper. The head of the village allowed us to clean 25km of the mineralization channel. In our estimation this is 1600 cubic meters of wood. This is almost a one year project. We have already received a first order of 50 cubic meters of wood from the business from Zhitomir.


It’s better to end this update on a positive note.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Alex And Fathers Day

First I'd like to say one thing. I have tried my damndest to find a way to get money to Alex and each time I'm sent around in circles. I wish I could do more, but I think just telling his story is as far as I'll get. 

Dear friends,

Sometimes I feel like the news from Ukraine is too much to share. The more I talk to the people, the more it looks like this war will not end this year.

But there is something positive that I want to share with you.

Last Friday I was invited to celebrate the day of Medical Personnel in the main regional hospital. The governor of Zhitomir oblast came to congratulate the doctors and the nurses. The best doctors and the nurses were given praise and medals.

The director of the hospital in his speech mentioned that not only doctors should be given praise but all the volunteers who came alongside with them . And he called my name.

I received a charter. I would like to share it with you, because of your support  your connections the hospitals in Zhitomir oblast received:

9 boxes of high quality External Fixators

Surgical Led light

Surgical generator with footswitches

25+ medical beds

10 oxygen concentrators

Fiberooptic Cholodocoscope and gastro feeding tubes

2 tons of medical supplies and drugs


On the other note. In Ukraine we are starting to celebrate Father’s day. This is something new to us.

When I think of my dad Franz and what life he had  it makes me humble. He survived famine in 1932-33. His mother was arrested and sent to Belomoro-Baltiyskiy Chanel, his father was executed by Russians in 1937. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 and sent to concentration camp Majdanek, Poland. Out of 1,200 prisoners from Zhitomir oblast, only seven came home and he was among them. In 1950 he was arrested and sent to Omsk. He lived till 92.  

There is a lot to learn from his life.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Couple Of Updates From Alex In Ukraine

I'm a little slow posting these. I've been in the hospital for 4 days dealing with Gall Stones, but here we go. 

From 6/14/2022

Dear friends,

Yesterday I visited a military cemetery in Zhytomyr. I found out that one of the guys I know was recently buried there. We were not close friends, but we both shared the passion for hiking. He was my age.

The price Ukraine pays everyday is huge. President Zelensky officially confirmed huge losses: 200 dead and 500 wounded. We lose our territory in the East and the cities in the East turn into ruins, complete ruins.

This is how a town Popasnaya with 20,000 population of 20,000 looks nowadays.


A friend of mine, who serves from the first days of war in the artillery division, came back home for one week. He is a different man now. He lost lots of his comrades. He says that Ukrainians are losing artillery duels. When I asked him when this could be over, he said that there is no end to this invasion. The advantage of Russian artillery is 20 to 1!

Last week I brought from Lviv a van full of medical supplies. This was a donation from Amigo Relief Missions from Alberta Canada. I wish I could have a bigger van. There were all the needy medical disposal supplies. The supply chains have been broken and many hospitals in Ukraine have shortage of them and sure the doctors and nurses were happy to see me again in the hospital.


This time the medical aid was divided among four hospitals: Zhitomir regional, Pulin district hospitals, Korostyshev district and Baranivka district hospitals.



Then from 6/15/2022

Dear friends,

War in the Eastern and Southern parts of Ukraine gets worse. We have new waves of internally displaced people. Zhitomir regional administration officially registered 38 thousands of them, spread in different communities in Zhitomir oblast.

Couple days ago I met a family from Mariupol. This family ran for their lives and left everything behind. They escaped hell. The family of five, with three little kids, lost their house in Mariupol. As many of you know Mariupol is a complete ruin. When I talked to Andiry, this is the father of the family; he shared about his life before the war. He said that he had a wonderful life there. He was renting out SUP boards at the Azov Sea, his kids went to school and his wife was at their lovely house.

I wanted to do something for this family. My friend, Zhanna, who runs the biggest nonprofit in Zhitomir has lots of contacts and can make many things possible. When I shared with her about Andri’s family she told me that we can get together families from Donetsk and Kherson and have fun with them in the water. She organized dragon boats competitions for refugee families and volunteers who are involved in her nonprofit.


What a wonderful idea! Our guests from the war zone were able to relax, see the most beautiful places of Zhitomir, compete and make new friends.



Sunday, June 12, 2022

Camping and FISHING!!!!!!!

We got to Upper Lake Wednesday afternoon. We were the only RV there. 

Set up the trailer and got ready for CAMPING. 

Did I mention the wind was blowing? said "small craft advisory". I don't know from "small craft advisory" only that there was white caps on the lake. So I Googled it. 24 to 38 miles per hour. A bit much for kayaking. 

If the lake would have looked like this, I'd have been on it like hair on a gorilla. But no, it had to look like this:

And it only got worse. In fact it stayed this way the whole time we were up there. Never took the kayaks off the truck. 

I grabbed my magnet fishing gear and hit the dock. Well, not literally as I've done in the past. 

This is Wednesday's take. The can must have been a "chum" can and probably Tuna because boy did it stink. Some nails, a few bells that some fisherman use and a few beer caps. 

The one thing I did notice is the lake is FULL. Check it out. 

There was at least 5 feet of beach in both places when we were here last August. 

Thursday morning I parked myself on the dock and put out two lines with the usual Rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig. As usual from the dock, nothing. 

So on Thursday afternoon I set up to the right of the steps in the above picture and it wasn't long before the first hit. In trying to extract myself from the chair (when you're old it's difficult getting up), I let the line go loose and the fish headed into the weeds. Couldn't get it out. Ended up breaking the line. The weeds in that part of the lake look like ocean kelp. BUT, the second bite did make it to the shore. 

I know it looks tiny (it was about 10 inches), but I was standing about 6 feet above the water. Might also mention this is the first fish for 2022. That is so sad. June 10th and the first fish of the year. I also caught a second one right after. 

Thursday I was back on the dock with my fishing magnet. The take is getting smaller. 

But, there is something on the left side of the dock that I latched onto, but after many minutes of tugging on it, couldn't break it loose. 

Went back again Friday morning and tried some more, but it's still down there in about 20 feet of water. I talked to the owner of the resort and he said there was nothing there that he knew about so it could be an outboard motor, blade from a boat, anything. I'll be back at the end of August for further work on it. 

This was dinner Thursday night:

Jalapeno sausage from our local butcher shop smothered with onions (from out next door neighbor's garden) and several colors of bell peppers. Sautéed in Olive Oil and secret spices. Ladies and gentlemen, a dinner to die for. 

So I'll leave you this trip with the usually awesome Upper Lake Sunset. 

We were scheduled to stay until Sunday morning, but left on Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning bode of many RV's at the RV dump on the way out and it was supposed to rain. Both those factors make for a messy morning. Zipped right through and drove home in 100 degree heat. And yes, it did rain this morning. 

Stay tuned.  

Monday, June 6, 2022

Always Something Exciting From Ukraine

 Dear friends,

On Saturday I witnessed God’s logistics.

 A semi-truck from Hungary with a donation from hospitals in Austria, Hungary and Romania with hospital beds and respiration machines delivered all these to three hospitals in Zhytomyr.


Why I call in God’s logistics, because some people shared what I have been doing in the medical field among their friends and organizations and as a result of it was a semi-truck full of gifts!

Today I visited two villages. Serbo Slobodka and Poninka.

I have connections to two of these villages. Both of these villages are related to my Volyhnian Village Adventure Tours. In 2018 and 2019 my good friends from North America visited their ancestral villages. In both of these villages I made good friends and kept in touch with them all this time.

It was my first time to visit these villages during the war. I sure missed it. I really mean it. I made good friends with Mykola, a village administrator from Serbo Slobodka. In his village we made a lot of good projects. We made a deep well for the villagers; we created a handmade workshop and helped many of the village people.

Tamara is the oldest in the village and she still remembers the way the Germans lived in 1930 in this village. Every time I’m in Serbo Slobodka I visit Tamara. Despite the pain from the shingles she keeps positive and believes in Ukraine’s victory over Russia.


Mykola, the village admin told me that there are 36 people in his two villages, Serbo Slobodka and Yablunivka. I brought him food gifts for these families and asked him to help with the survey about the refugees.

Then I drove to Poninka. In 2018 I made good friends with Vlad. He is a deaf boy. When he was a child he lost hearing after meningitis. I helped  him get into a special school for deaf kids in Zhitomir and since that I always play chess with him. This is what he does the best):


I really liked to visit him. He is right now in Lipovka with his grandmother, a village 5 km away from Poninka. What a peaceful place!

On the other note. My younger daughter Violate missed her graduation ceremony in Ukraine. When they were in church last Sunday, she was invited to attend a Christian school for a month. Now she will have a graduation in Canada! Now she is looking for a dress!


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

A Short Update From Alex In Ukraine

 Dear friends,

Today I visited the village of Zhukin. This village is located to the North of Kyiv oblast. Originally I was planning to visit Desna, a city in Chernigov oblast, but due to a recent missile attack on a military center there, where more than 300 recruits were killed and more than 200 were injured. Without special permission I could not visit Desna.

On the way to Zhukin I travelled through Irpin and Kyiv city. The highway to Kyiv was more or less cleaned from the remains of the burned cars and tanks, but the evidence of war is still very obvious. What was previously a prosperous suburb of Kyiv now is land of desolation.

It used to be my favorite stop for borsch. 

 The village administrator of Zhukin Valentina told me that their small village hosted more than 300 hundred families, mainly from Chernihiv oblast. I brought them boxes of food and clothing which I picked up at Zhitomir Community foundations.

On the way back to Zhitomir I stopped at the gas station that would not have any lines for a long time. Before the war I would stop at these gas stations with my tour members for what I called 4 star toilets.


This is a video of what you could see on the highway to Kyiv


I was so proud to see Polish and Ukrainian flags flying on the bridge in Makariv district. I was happy to see two of my favorite flags together. 


On the other note. My observation. When I talked to my tour members from North America I heard that they like their life but most of them did not like their political leaders. In Russia most of the people hate their life and complain about it a lot but they mostly like their leader, Putin. What a huge difference!