Today we traveled from Białystok to a church in Belsk Podlaski - about 90 minutes south of Białystok - where we assembled 8 Ikea tables and 32 Ikea chairs that were purchased for the church with some of the funds that we raised for our trip. The tables and chairs will be used for a fellowship hall that was built in an attic space above the church. After we got done, we were treated to coffee, tea, and fresh punchki, a traditional Polish doughnut, usually filled with a small amount of jam and covered with melted sugar, powdered sugar, or chocolate. We then arranged the tables and covered them with hundreds of articles of clothing that had been collected by the medical university students to give to those in need. Afterwards, several families came by and went through the clothing, taking what they could use. On a dare, Dr. E. tried to slip on a pair of four inch stilettos – let’s just say that his feet and legs were not meant for walking in high heels. When we were done at the churc
“For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” - Elie Weisel, Night Today we visited Auschwitz. It is hard to put into words what we felt and experienced. The Holocaust is something we have all learned about in school for a long time, and a couple of us have visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and read memoirs written by survivors. This experience, however, was much different because instead of learning about something that happened in another country before we were born, it was something that happened on the ground we were standing on. Going into the day, we expected the visit to be emotionally difficult but were surprised at how distant we felt. Even though it was right in front of us, what ha
Greetings from Vienna! While our friends and family back home are jus t starting their afternoon, many of us have been up for almost 36 hours. We had a nice visit to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Annex near the Dulles airport during our long layover yesterday, and then an uneventful eight hour flight to Vienna. Today, we entered through passport control and started to learn our way around the train and subway system, viewed a few cathedrals, did a bit of shopping, and got settled into our hotel. Everyone is very tired, but doing well. Tomorrow, we will visit a museum, attend church at New City Wien, and spend some time discussing how the church wants to use us on Monday.