Not everyone has the chance to share in a lunch to celebrate Orthodox Easter with a mix of Italians, Moldavians, and Ukrainians in the gym of the San G. Bosco oratory on the far south end of Chisinau, now home to about fifty refugees.  Today is a major holiday so the cafeteria that usually provides meals to guests is closed. The Ukrainian women decide to prepare lunch, and it’s an amazing atmosphere. They cook, mix and fry, all working together while listening to traditional music on their cell phones. Soups, chicken, potatoes, and the ever-present Russian salad are brought to the tables, everything made with great care.  Enormous amounts of colored hard-boiled eggs are in wicker baskets, waiting to be plopped into our hands as we exchange holiday greetings. For dessert, there’s “Pasca,” a glaze-covered cake that tastes like focaccia. Delicious! There is joy, cheer and music. But in the eyes of these women and young people, there’s an underlying sadness because they are far from their loved ones and their country. And just as we’re drinking coffee, news comes from the village of one of the women with us that her house was bombed and no longer has doors nor windows. The sun is shining beautifully outside, but now there is only gloom in our hearts.


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