“I was watching Ukraine go by thinking, ‘Is this the last time I’m going to see Ukraine?” said Bryce Walker, Ukraine refugee.
Walker, his girlfriend and their 13-year old son are residing in Warsaw, Poland.
They lived in Rivne, Ukraine when the family heard Russia attacked. They decided to stay in Ukraine for a bit longer.
“As soon as we heard that noise, even though we had never heard that noise before, we both knew exactly what was happening, immediately,” Walker said.
After realizing their home was no longer safe, the family managed to get on a bus to Warsaw.
“A few rockets landed at the airport, a few rockets landed in the city next to us and blew up the oil refining plant. Things were getting pretty close to home. So the time came and I said, ‘I bought three tickets,’” Walker said.
Over 17 hours later, the evacuees were finally taken in by a Polish family.
“They offered to take us in right away. So that was great. It was just a place to fall apart for two days and sleep that was really needed. They fed us, they were great people,” Walker said.
Walker also says Poland has been more than amazing in supporting refugees.
“It’s been a huge help and makes everybody feel welcome. It’s tough being in the refugees’ shoes, when you go to a city you’re worried about stepping on their toes, being a problem, you don’t want to make Ukraine look bad by being in their city and they’ve been just wonderful.”
Walker’s sister, Kari Belcher, living in Saskatoon, is trying to raise money for Walker and his family. Belcher put together a GoFundMe page to raise $8,000 for her brother.
“The Ukrainian dollar isn’t really worth that much. So everything that we’re buying or paying for the hotels and stuff. It’s all converted to Canadian. So yeah, so we’ve done the GoFundMe, and we’ve helped them with their hotels,” said Belcher.
The family is using the money for a hotel room, food, their visas and eventually plane tickets to Canada.
“Everything is so uncertain. We’ve thought about these things. So many times at this point, they still don’t really have an answer as to once we get to Canada, what’s next, we’re just going to try to find some normalcy in life again, I think,” Walker said.