By Jameela Memoli
Over six months have passed since The Ukraine war started on February 24, 2022 and there is still no end in sight. Millions of people have lost their homes or are unable to come home. As a high school student living in the U.S, I was wondering how people in Vermont were affected by the war in Ukraine.
I sat down with a direction center secretary, Heather Walpole, and Social Studies teacher John Bennet. Each of them have connections to the war.
Heather Walpole’s father and family members live in Kherson, Ukraine. She says she has not been in direct contact with her family since the war started. However, “my aunt, who lives in Canada, spoke to a few family members in the first few weeks, but we haven’t spoken to them since.” She continued, “as far as I know, they’re all moving to a different country right now, but they don’t have any electricity or anything like that from where they are because it is hard to get a hold of them. And they do not have access to phones or anything and I am not aware of what country they are in.” She then moved on to share that, “I think where they are from was hit badly and so I don’t know if they will be able to return to their home town or not; I’m hoping if we can get a hold of my aunt that we’ll be able to find out how they’re doing and if they are okay.”
John Bennett doesn’t have any direct connection to the war. He does however know a good amount about it. Although he has no direct connection, he did tell me that his grandfather lived in a town in Russia that is now part of Ukraine, so it is possible he has family there. He began talking about war in general. “It completely disrupts your life; it’s hard for us to imagine what that must be like when your school life is completely disrupted and you don’t know if you’re going to have a school or if your school is getting bombed.” He then went on to relate the idea of peoples’ lives being abruptly interrupted to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Imagine that to a much greater degree, you’re trying to live a normal existence in an abnormal situation.” He continued, “it’s falling into this kind of ‘forever world syndrome’ which has occurred in the world in a lot of places like Africa, Middle-East, and now in Ukraine. The war just drags on and on constantly.” Lastly, he mentioned, “the only way for the war to end is if they sit down for peace negotiations somewhere between all sides.”
So, you might not think that the war in Ukraine has an impact on you personally. However, even with no direct connection, you can still sympathize with the many people in our community who are affected.