We asked Holly Winter Huppert, the author of this season's bestselling book, "Unimaginable: Volunteering for Ukrainian Refugees" to answer a few questions about her time in Krakow.
Question: During your time volunteering for Ukrainian Refugees, were there any cultural nuances that surprised you or that you found particularly important to understand?
Huppert: Yes. Luckily the NGO that I volunteered with had a full-day orientation to help me understand the norms. During my training, it was recommended that we never ask the refugees questions. This was a big learning for me, as I'm all about asking questions.
We were not to ask about the family they left behind, when they thought they could go home, how long they were in Krakow or whether not they liked Krakow.
This is why when I started working with Dasha, the 14-year-old girl from Ukraine, she said upfront that she didn't want to answer any questions about the war or anything about being Ukrainian.
I promised her that I wouldn't ask her any questions but invited her to ask me questions.
She thought hard about what she might ask me. She asked me where I was from, what kind of work did I do and what did I do for fun.
When she found out that I was a writer, she flipped from not wanting to talk to desperately wanting to tell me the story of her family and the war.
I refused. I declined.
I didn't want to make her uncomfortable.
Her mother reached out to me and asked me to please write about Dasha. She said, "We need the world to know what is like for us."
During my time volunteering at the Szafa Dobra Free Shop, I was careful to only interview people who found out I was a writer and asked me to write their stories.
In the end I did interview Dasha. Many people say that her chapter is one of their favorite parts of the book.
Thanks for answering our question, Holly. It's ironic that the first question we asked you was about you not answering questions.
If you'd like to see all of the interview questions, click on the Unimaginable Media Kit HERE.
Check back often to read Holly's answers to more questions. Or send us your questions and we'll do our best to get Holly to answer them for you. Questions can be sent to winuplypress @ gmail.com (Remove the spaces before sending.)
Looking for a fun read? Check out Cheese for Breakfast: My Turkish Summer by Holly Winter Huppert.
Huppert writes with her signature humor, honesty and insights as she shares the stories of her travels while she climbs castles, eats from communal bowls, joins a water fight from the back of a truck, lives with a Turkish family, visits remote areas and marks two lifelong dreams off of her bucket list as she takes a solo trip through Turkey in 2019.
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(C) 2023 by Holly Winter Huppert and Winuply Press