If there is no land, there will be the sky

Our return from Ukraine. Thoughts about the situation on the ground. What we saw, what we did, what we'd like to continue doing.

A storm is looming. I open the window and look beyond the mountains. Nothing has changed so far: wars, tensions, abuse of power, threats, boorish land consumption thunder on the horizon. An itch seems to take hold of me, so strong it pushes me towards embracing this cosmic pessimism, heading up to the top of the mountain and screaming out into the void.

And yet, that doesn’t happen.

We’ve never been ones known to throw the towel in and, thanks to the determination of a group of volunteers, friends who come together in times of need and walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk. This Costa Family Foundation delegation travelled to Ukraine, near Sambir monastery, with a minivan full of medicine and essential goods. Six volunteers who drove two minivans: one for the monastery, and one needed for the return trip to Italy. A return journey of over 3,000 km in less than four days.

Before leaving, the associations and charitable groups we work with, especially the Hesperia Bimbi onlus and the “Tutti insieme con gioia” association, rolled up their sleeves to ensure the two vans would be bursting with material. There’s just enough space for the six people to squeeze in, the rest taken up by cardboard boxes full of medicines – mostly for children – foodstuff, wellbeing products, parasiticidals. Off from Corvara, crossing Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland until the Ukrainian border of Korczowa. Thoughts crowd our mind, as thick as the rows of corn overflowing from the fields. This is a war zone, and the clouds seem to have vanished. It’s stifling hot, and the war is far away. Our paltry worries make forgetting easier. And, in a month or so, 100 years after the March on Rome, maybe our country will once again be in the hands of people who idolised our rotten past.

Cosmic pessimism doesn’t sound too bad right now. But our friends have their feet on the ground, and continue their mission. Alessandro, the abbot, has the vans’ keys – and it’s time to return. Small humanitarian help thanks to small, practical actions. This is what we do as a Foundations to try and limit any possible interference – we know how men work – by working on the ground. At least now people in need will be able to use medicines when they need do.

We’re already thinking about the next initiatives, supported by an energy and dedication which allows us to be in contact with real, tireless, and positive people. Solidarity between men and women is what nurtures us. As Ukrainian poet Lina Kostenko wrote, it’s true, those who have wings don’t need the ground. If there is no land, there will be the sky.

Giulan, thank you to all of the Foundation’s friends who support us.

Stay tuned – we’ll be in touch soon.

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