Nun gives taxi drivers no option to ferry supplies in Ukraine

taxi drivers

Two Ukranian taxi drivers have found themselves delivering supplies to the neediest in Ukraine.

Ivan Smyglia and Denys Kurpikov say Sister Lucia Murashko presented them with “no other option”.

Murashko (pictured with the taxi drivers) is a member of the Sisters of the Order of St Basil the Great of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. She’s the driving force behind their efforts.

They go with her into the ‘grey zone’ about 50 kilometres away.

The grey zone refers to the villages on the front line, between the Ukrainian and Russian Federation armies — territories that Ukraine does not control.

The Basilian sisters have been providing humanitarian aid within their parish community and to civilians and Ukrainian soldiers on the front since the war began in February last year.

Smyglia was running a successful taxi company in Ukraine and Poland when war broke out.

“When the war started, my team and I had no other option. I had a feeling deep inside that we needed to help.

“And together with friends, we took our cars and some savings that we had — called some people, some people prepared food — and we started to deliver aid to our military.”

Many people had been without water or electricity for several months, he said.

He and Kuprikov have been delivering humanitarian aid to the front line full time ever since.

Smyglia said his initiative began very simply. “I just wrote a message on my apartment building’s chat app: ‘Please bring whatever you can.’”

At first, people brought large shopping bags filled with goods.That dwindled after a couple of months.

“Then, just when we thought that we couldn’t do any more … we met Sister Lucia.

“And we came to an agreement that she would help us,” Kuprikov says.

Last July, the sisters began providing Smyglia and Kuprikov with supplies like food, clothing, mats, sleeping bags and electric generators.

Whenever the taxi drivers spoke of needs they encountered, the sisters told them “Send us a list and we will take care of it.”

Kuprikov recalled once driving into the “grey zone” under mortar fire with Murashko.

“Sister Lucia took my hand and said, ‘Everything is OK. God is with us.’ These were not words I paid much attention to before.

“But now, when …there are some difficult circumstances, I recall Sister Lucia’s words and I feel better.”

Smyglia said it was impossible for him to calculate the amount of aid they had delivered to soldiers and civilians.

He says his experience has started a “new page” in his life.

“I had really no clue about the Church, the faith, and my opinion about all of that.

“I didn’t understand it. There was no one to teach me when I was little.”

He now wants to propose to his wife of 21 years that they marry in the Church.

The family man says his marriage will be stronger.

“I love my wife and my children very much — they are my soul and my heart — I cannot imagine my life without them, but we should be wed in the eyes of God.”


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