This day is dedicated to the things happening in East Ukraine since 2014, like the civil conflict between pro-Russian breakaways and the Ukrainian Government. We enter the “Red Zone” accompanied by the United Nations Refugee Agency and the norwegian one, both operating here, and we interview a newlywed young couple with their 2 little kids that, in 2014, have seen crumble under their eyes their dreams and the idea af a happy future. Their house has been burned to the ground due to mortar fire.
They tell us what happened, what they’ve witnessed and how they live now. Regardless the the fact that you can clearly hear the explosions every night, they don’t want to move to a safer place. This is where they where born, this is their “home sweet home”, so they try to ignore what happens around them in order to try living their lives in a normal kind of way, even if it’s very challenging.
Later we are led to document an unacceptable reality: alongside a bridge that separates the portion of city ruled by the government from the part that is not, there’s a really long queue of people that every day (the majority made up of old people) come to buy basic necessities, forced to wait in line for identification for hours and hours under the worst weather! We cannot believe what we see now: In front of us there’s a line, more like a stream, of people, treated like a flock of sheep, under rain and wind, waiting to get identified.
It’s 2017 some things should not exist, not even in a sci-fi novel, but apparently they still do! This situation has left a bitter taste in our mouths, but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to help in this very moment.
We have a warm meal in a tiny restaurant in the little town of Makarove and then we take a look around. It’s like walking in a ghost town, buildings destroyed by bombs, houses with holes in the roofs. We can hear the sound of the bombs exploding from far away. This is a surreal situation. An experience like the one of today made us realize how unfair and mean the war can be. And under a sky covered with clouds and ready to burst, we leave the city with a heavy feeling in our hearts.
After 300 km on the road, we finally get to Novopskov where we spend the night. The hotel doesn’t serve dinner because the restaurant is closed for business, so we have to test Giannino’s culinary art! He’s from Cilento or better say: Principato di Salerno so we are pretty sure he will not disappoint! 😛 He makes us spaghetti with tomato sauce (fresh tomatoes from his garden!!!), and a good bottle of wine from his own vineyard.
We spend the night telling ourselves stories and anecdotes of the old expeditions of Overland. After a touching day like this we need a laugh 😉