There is an old Estonian saying that guests bring joy twice: when they arrive and when they leave. With good friends, this is not the case. Today, 20 Ukrainian medics who attended a course in Tactical Combat Casualy Care (TCCC), organized by NGO Vaba Ukraina (Free Ukraine) in cooperation with the Estonian Defense College, flew back to Ukraine. The men and women who had had come to Tartu to attend a course organized according to NATO stardards not only improved their professional medical skills but also learned about Estonian culture, history and people. Many of them promised to return to Estonia some day, either as tourists or as students at the University of Tartu.
Course participants spoke highly of the quality of the course they attended. „Most of us were very skilled already before coming here“ said Taras, one of the participants. „However, we had learned most of what we know on our own. Of course we’ve had similar courses also in Ukraine but here our knowledge has become much better structured. All bits and pieces fall into place. And this is very good.“
The group did not return to Ukraine empty-handed. In addition to a course certificate attesting their readiness to act as TCCC instructors, all participants received a fully equipped frontline medic’s backpack from Vaba Ukraina, as well as various presents and souvenirs from the Estonian Defense College. As part of the cultural programme organized in connection with the course, the Ukranian guests were shown the film „Singing Revolution“ which talks about Estonia’s 20th century political history and the role of the country’s powerful singing tradition. Several participants said that after watching the film, they saw the historical similarities between the two countries and began to understand why Estonians care so much about the situation in Ukraine.
After flying back to Ukraine, some members of the group will return to the zone of the antiterrorist operation. Despite the ceasefire agreement that was signed in Minsk, fierce battles are taking place in some areas.
NGO Free Ukraine, its partner organizations in Ukraine and TCCC course participants are grateful to all those whose help made the organization of these courses possible. Our work continues, as we prepare for hosting a third group of Ukrainian medics.