By Linda Hall • 20 March 2022 • 17:43
ALICANTE MISSION: Cooking paella for refugees and bringing five to safety
Photo credit: Paellas por la paz
DAVID AND XAVI JUAN DIAZ, Andres Sanchez, Eduardo Cisneros and David Carretero left Alicante on March 11, bound for Przemysl (Poland) near the Ukraine border.
They were weighed down with enough rice, meat, olive oil, peppers, tomatoes, chickpeas and garlic to make a daily 1,500 portions of paella for Ukrainians fleeing their invaded country.
The five friends had also made up their minds to bring back refugees on the return journey to Spain, Eduardo Cisneros told the Spanish media.
“We decided to go early in March, outraged by the war and what was happening,” he said, explaining the origins of their Paellas Por la Paz initiative.
Thanks to collaboration from friends and local companies they had three tons of food with them when they arrived after 40 hours’ driving in Przemysl, 20 minutes from Medyka.
The five friends – one of whom owns a restaurant – set up their stall in the open air outside a humanitarian aid centre which also provides hot food for the refugees.
For the next five days they produced paella from 10am until 10pm.
“They ate rice all day!” Eduardo said. “They loved our fuet dried sausage, ham, and cured tuna, too.”
The five friends left on March 19 and, as they had hoped, they were able to bring back five people with them, after completing the stringent vetting introduced to prevent people trafficking.
“We were up very early to go to the railway station to collect a grandmother, her daughter and two granddaughters as well as another girl who arrived in a state of shock after her house was bombed,” Eduardo said. “All they have is what they stand up in, and little more.”
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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