Monday 4 April 2022

Light in darkness

Camellia Nuccio's Jewel
February 24th changed things. In the preceeding weeks, we had heard many times about the threat of invasion and hoped against hope that an awful terror would not fall upon Ukraine

It has. Daily we view heart-rending scenes on the media. In the last 24 hours the reports from the BBC reporter, Jeremy Bowen, have been particularly moving. I have just seen a tweet from him saying Medecins Sans Frontieres have located Iryna Kostenko to offer her support. She is the lady who buried her only son in their devasted garden in Bucha. The mound is covered by a rug held in place by a wooden pallet. Perhaps you saw the news report or have read about it - truly awful and, very sadly, not an isolated incident

Why refer to them here? May I have your patience while old Codger explains ...

Emergency supplies being shipped out to Ukraine from Poland
The Polish connecton
As a young married couple we spent Christmas 1968 in Poland as guests of a family we had got to know, somewhat unusual in those day when the country was under Communist domination. This led to a lifetime friendship Pehaps we can tell you more about that in a future episode

One of these friends runs a Christian organisation that reaches out to Ukraine so it was no surprise to learn that they became immediately involved in supporting people whose lives had been turned upside down by the Russian invasion. As you will know, two million Ukrainians have fled to Poland and now reside there - and another million have passed through

No, not our country residence - guests at a wedding reception
So, for our part: are there ways in which we can help? Yes! Provide some publicity and send them the money that comes in from my various Codger plant offers - and so forth. In other words extending the Garden Codger project but in the Poland/Ukraine directiion - incongruous as that my sound

A personal note
As many readers know, Mrs Codger is not quite so well these days. Following cancer in 2017 and the subsequent treatment (successful, praise God), dementia set in. So we, daily, are dealing with Alzheimer's and, I hope, coping fairly well. However, over the winter I came to the conclusion that old Codger ought to be pensioned off. But the events of February 24th changed that

Displaced Ukrainians being looked after by our friends
Our experience of central and eastern Europe gave us an immediate empathy with the suffering being experienced by the brave people of Ukraine. Everyone has seen the magnanmous response of the Poles. They, of all people, know what it is like to live under Russian domination. We are in a position to help, so feel that we should

They are getting help to where it is needed - the east of Ukraine
This has it dangers - the plan is to get a 50 tonne truck to Sumy this week!
BCM and a coincidence
We have been pleased to support our colleagues at the Birmingham City Mission. We are grateful to all our friends who have enabled us to raise over £4,500 for their funds (this figure includes Gift Aid). It's a great work and we continue to support BCM on a personal basis

Interestingly, they also have links with Poland. You can read about that here. Like us they believe that the best help is to support those working on the ground by sending funds

Garden Codger's idiocycratic project began as a respose to the first Covid lockdown. Folk with unexpected time on their hands turned to gardening. We were in a position to help and we received generous support at a time when we thought that charities might take a hit. We set up a giving page as you can see here

We have built up a good stock of plants - this shows about a quarter
Hoping they may beautify your border - you're welcome to inspect
At the time, I did not think about the expiry date - that got inserted by default: 12th April 2022 - that is next week! A neat coincidence that leaves me with work to do. One possibility is to replicate something similar but with Polish support for Ukraine as the target - I am currently working on this

[Codger has already sent an advance - the need is immediate - but wrestling with payments via the international banking system was no fun - does Garden Codger really look like a Russian emigree avoiding sanctions?]

So, how will we operate?
Well, much as before. Plants, as above - and advice along with them. Hanging baskets, planters, tomato specials (always does well) and anything to do with gardening that will help you whilst bringing in some funds that we will send out. As has been the case for the last two years, every penny goes to charity - we are glad to be in a position not to take expenses

You can give with confidence because we know and trust our Polish friends implicitly. So, finally, a word about them ..

Henio is the senior figure - we'll introduce the rest of the family later

Here's the man
Our longstanding friend in charge of the operation is Henryk Krol (Henio to me). He has a deep Christian motivation combining vision, organisational ability and an entrepreneurial spirit used for the good of others. I'll be telling you more about his plans and their progress in coming weeks. In the meantime, I'll leave you to look at their webpages - the story is fascinating, just click here to get the background

STOP PRESS: another coincidence!
One of the housing projects
Henio has an older brother, Adam. Rather closer to my age, he too, lives to serve others in the name of Christ. For many years his focus was a series of housing projects run under the Habitat for Humanity banner (housing has been a issue in Poland ever since WW2). They produce affordable housing through innoative methods and volunteer labour

Adas and his wife Rhonda
Now, here's the coincidence. Only last night (Sunday 3rd April) he received a national award before the television cameras in Warsaw! In case your Polish is as poor as mine, here are two quotes from his acceptance speech:

"All good things come from God and to Him I want to give the glory ... ... already as Jesus Christ said, it is better to give than to receive"

You can find the two relevent bits of the YouTube video at about 51:58 and 54:30 - highly recommended - I know the guy ...

[Editor's note: When I set this up the video was publicly available on YouTube. However, it has since been withdrawn perhaps for copyright reasons. Sorry about that, outside Codger's control!]

For old hands
Garden Codger usually signs off with a few photos. Let's see what we can find ...

... best  wishes from the old Garden Codger ( please pray that the Lord will keep him going)

PS - due hope we don't hit some techie probs as we publish - I'm out of practce handling the intricacies og Google Blogger

National colours of the side I'm supporting

A bit of sunshine

A lewisia showing off (the first I've ever overwintered!)

A frosted cotula - available to a good home!

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