Stop the Killing in the Ukraine and Send Money to the Children who live in Korsakov
Recently we had the opportunity to visit Korsakov, Russia, an island that time has forgotten. A cruise ship brought us to this desolate port.
We were placed in groups like cattle and processed into the country. It reminds me of the time we tried to get into Egypt and were traveling across the Sinai Peninsula.
It was a bit degrading and humiliating. Here we were, children, old men and women, and travelers from other countries who only wanted a glimpse of Russia.
We tendered to an awful wharf full of wrecked cars and ships, and then we were shuttled by bus to the town square and told that we could not leave the area. Our Russian guide spoke some English and seemed to be a gentle soul. We passed by an imposing image of Lenin before being ushered into the cultural center. There we were offered souvenirs at very high prices. We bought a doll created by one of the children in the town. We wanted to buy everything! We wanted to help the people.
After a dance routine and music we were invited to take pictures with the group. They put their arms around us. We took many pictures. One woman told us in broken English that she was the orchestra leader of twenty five people. We looked at each other and could not communicate except through hugs and body language. We wished we could speak Russian.
Out the door of the Cultural Center, some of the group wandered into buildings that looked like they should be torn down. Had there been a recent war? Some of the travelers found groceries and other items. The shops were very small, housed within the front area of older buildings, maybe nine by twelve feet. They reminded me of the small local gas-stores we used to frequent as a child and in rural Kentucky fifty years ago. The shop owners looked very tired.
Shuttled into buses again we headed to the port after only two hours in Russia.
Korsakov is a bleak town on the edge of nowhere. Russian politicians have forgotten it. The streets have huge potholes lined with curbs that hardly exist. There are cracks in the buildings and scarred windows. Where is the paint? Where is the technology? Where is the love for this city?
Children walked down the street and I wondered about their lives and what they were learning on the edge of nowhere. They smiled at us. They were happy. They greeted us with love and hoped for our return.
Vladimir Putin, put down your weapons. Stop your silly war games. Stop the killing in the Ukraine. Send money to Korsakov and give these people a better life and your children a future. Life not death should be legacy of a great Russian leader.