Travelling to a location like Krasnogruda can be complicated – there are many borders to cross. It may seem straightforward on paper, bringing together people from four or six different countries. The co-ordinators and evaluators have a simple task – to only get from Warsaw (even then the train is delayed). Others have to travel backwards to go forwards, a Georgian coming from Berlin (who was previously in Bucharest) has to go via Brussels in order to come back to Vilnius, to then go west again to cross the border back into Poland. From Ukraine the groups travel at great lengths to get here. For some of them the coach and visa schedules do not match up. Leaving Lviv at 6 pm they arrive at the Polish border crossing at Rava-Rus’ka at 21.00; here they have to leave the coach because their visa is only valid from midnight, so they must wander the border, along fields cloaked in mist. They come across a shrine to the Virgin Mary, with a bench (at last, somewhere to sit down and wait), but there are soldiers here and they are told to go away and find somewhere else to wait until midnight. They cross and hitchhike to Tomaszow, then a bus to Lublin, arriving at 4 am. Then they take a train to Warsaw, then to Suwalki and bus again to Krasnogruda, finally arriving at 18.30. Another group from Lviv take a different route – one bus from Ukraine to Lithuania (Lvovas –Vilnius) which crosses to Poland and then heads north hugging the Belarus border. They meet Chris Keulemans and Willemijn Lamp, two of our facilitators, at the airport, to travel with them and others back to Poland. The group from Belarus come by car and have to cross 3 border checkpoints. They leave at 9 am and arrive at dusk, just as the dinner table is being cleared.
Over and after dinner, there is an open discussion about the responsibility in working with local communities. The situation in Ukraine is of course takes much of the discussion, about the difficult and tough times there, the need for dialogue and the lack of opportunities for dialogue. But here, tonight, is a space to find out more about the place each person lives and works, and the projects they aspire to undertake.