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Testimony of Mireia, a Spanish volunteer who served in Warsaw

Mireia, a Spanish wayfarer, spent 10 days in Warsaw as a Semper Parati volunteer. Discover her testimony!

At that moment I remembered the phrase of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "sometimes we feel that what we do is just a drop in the sea, but the sea would be less without that drop".

From 2 May to 12 May I decided to travel to Poland to do a service for Ukrainian refugees.

Since the beginning of the war I felt all the stories that were told in the media very closely and I empathised a lot with each of them. So I had the idea that I wanted to help directly in some way. So the UIGSE created Semper Parati, and I signed up right away. After weeks of organising I arrived at my service destination: Warsaw.

There I was welcomed by the family of Emilia, a company leader. From the very first moment I felt at home. The experience of living in their house and the way they treated me made me experience first hand the European sense, what is said in the promise: "and from now on, you are part of the great guiding sisterhood and sister to all the Guides of Europe".

Once I was settled and settled in, it was time for the service. At first I went to the bus and train station to help give directions to refugees who had to move to another country or part of Poland. It was a huge shock for me to see so many children, mothers and elderly people with backpacks, boxes and bags full of everything they had been able to take with them, everything they had left from their homes. But I quickly realised that I was of little use there, not knowing Polish or Ukrainian, so I moved to another place to do the service.

And I arrived at Modlinska 6D. For many it will seem a strange name or for those who knows, it is a department store and nothing more. But for many it is now home, an oasis of peace and construction in the midst of terror and destruction. Modlinska 6D was a department store that the Polish government had converted into temporary accommodation for refugees.

And as soon as I arrived, I was made a volunteer. And then a boy accompanied me to the place where I would do my service that day. The service was to make sandwiches. We spent almost two hours making sandwiches. At one point I picked up a packet of biscuits and I read: "Galletas Marbú Dorada", it was in Spanish, in the middle of Poland. And next to it there was another one in French and another one in German, all that was there were donations from all the countries of the world. At that moment I remembered the phrase of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "sometimes we feel that what we do is just a drop in the sea, but the sea would be less without that drop".

The next day was one of the most impactful days. I arrived ready to put my hands at the service of those in need. And when I arrived I found a whole party going on. They had organised a party for the children. I started helping to make bracelets and later I became the official make-up artist for the children, drawing mainly Ukrainian flags, animals, princesses, ... There were even inflatables and popcorn and candyfloss stalls. When I was helping to make bracelets, a little girl came up and wanted to learn how to do it. I started to explain to her how to do it from signs and then I realised, her right hand had been shattered by shrapnel. She had lost much of her functionality because of the war, a 5 year old girl. She would have to live her whole life remembering the horror of war in her hand.

The next few days she helped every morning to entertain the children by drawing pictures, making bracelets or teaching them how to play volleyball. There was a very clever little girl with whom I formed a special bond and she told me that she had come with her aunt because her mother had stayed behind to look after the soldiers in her country.

Every day in the midst of so many people that from one day to the next her life was turned upside down and now she was surviving, she thought: Within a few kilometres of each other there is the cruelest hell in Europe and kindness taken to the extreme.

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