The initiative to send warm clothes to the residents of Odessa in response to their letter received by Our House could not find a possible carrier…
Then, our volunteers found out that Valdas Bartkevičius was going again to Ukraine to deliver a vehicle to the Ukraine’s armed forces. And sure enough, he should not ride light. The vehicle is loaded, and women sigh with relief: several days later a photo report would come… However, the war roads made their adjustments, and… the photos arrived not from Odessa, but from Bucha, from the legendary Konstantinas Gudauskas. We learned from numerous publications about the courage of a Lithuanian with a Kazakh passport, how the citizen of Kazakhstan of Lithuanian descent, risking his life, saved over 200 people from Bucha and nearby villages, occupied by Russia. He was inspired by his father, a Lithuanian native, especially by his stories about the painful history of occupation of his country.
«Konstantinas Gudauskas was born on May 20, 1983, in the village of Grigorievka, Aktobe Region, Kazakhstan. His father is an entrepreneur, and his mother is a pediatrician. He graduated from Ural State University with a degree in journalism. His career was not long. He became disappointed in his profession in a dictatorship country. «I thought I would write the truth, but there was no possibility to do that…». So, he became a human rights defender in Almaty, and was politically persecuted for that. In 2019 he moved to Ukraine, where he had a business in the sphere of producing. Starting from February 24, 2022, he transported people from locations of Kyiv region occupied by Russians. In total, he saved 203 people. With a team of volunteers that he organized, he sent humanitarian deliveries to villages. He was shell-shocked and wounded during a humanitarian mission. Konstantinas likes travelling and listening to Ukrainian songs. He met the war in Bucha. He lost his house and car due to a shell hit».
Any long way starts with the first little step… The foundation Bucha Help started from a crazy idea: to get through block posts of the occupants in February-March 2022, under shellfire 24/7, with a Kazakh passport and the legend «I am going to pick up my relatives», to people trapped in Hostomel, Vorzel, Bucha, Irpin (that very Irpin described by N. Nosov as a Flower town in his famous «Neznayka» (Know-nothing)).
The first family transported from the occupied areas, was an 8-month pregnant wife of a military man and their little son. The woman named the soon-born new baby «Konstantin».
Having learned that in the occupied Vorzel, in the basement of his house, a famous Ukrainian composer Ihor Poklad with his wife Svitlana were hiding, Konstantinas decided to transport them himself. Being a creative person, Konstantinas knew music well the music of the composer: «He is a pride of the Ukrainian nation». Neither the injuries, nor the humiliating interrogations, nor the perspective to be shot only because he was moving on a road, – nothing stopped that courageous man, who soon united other people that rushed to help the victims of the very first days of this insane war. Ihor Poklad’s wife, Svitlana Poklad, decided to help the foundation and coordinate its work. Also, a world-famous opera singer, Olena Hrebeniuk, became an executive director of the foundation.
«Olena was born on July 31, 1975, in Baku. She moved to Kyiv in 1989. Olena graduated from the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music. She is the soloist of Kyiv Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children and Youth from 1999, a Laureat of the III award of the International Antonin Dvorak Singing Competition (Czeck Republic). She sings in 12 languages. Her music video «Sila Doli» got the grand-prix of the International Music Video Competition «Euro Video Grand Prix – 2006» (Albania). She was conferred the title of the «Benefactor of the year». From the first days of the war, she began helping doctors, she has a status of medical volunteer. She also sings a lot of volunteering concerts for the civilians and for the Ukrainian army, and is providing targeted humanitarian help».
It is her strong voice that is heard in the video report about the delivery of the humanitarian help from Our House. It’s worth mentioning, that the unloading of the humanitarian delivery from Lithuania turned out into a wonderful holiday: a boy that’s been repeatedly helping the adults was conferred the title of the «young volunteer»… It’s just how creative people are: they know how to plant the seeds of joy and kindness everywhere.
Nationality, religion, age – all that is not important for the volunteer mission. The main thing is what kind of person you are and what side, the Good or the Evil, you are on.
The volunteers of Our House and Bucha Help have made their choice!
P.S. What about the letter from Odessa? We have not forgotten about it. As soon as a new occasion appears, another hundreds of kilos of humanitarian cargo will hit the road.