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'A Shocking Experience': Boston Woman Returns Home After Helping Ukrainian Refugees In Romania

BOSTON (CBS) - A busy Boston accountant is home just in time for Tax Day. She spent the busiest month of her season filing remotely - from a monastery in Romania.

"I would be working on a tax return and then someone would come over and just say hi," Ema David recalled.

In between returns, she welcomed and registered Ukrainian refugees.

"It's a shocking experience, but I'm not the one who had just lost a house. There was one person who lost her husband and her children," David recalled somberly.

Ema was born in Romania and felt called to return there to help. She spent four weeks delivering food and medicine to the border, providing transportation to families seeking safety, and replenishing toys at the bridge leaving Ukraine. She won't forget the brave mothers she met, whose husbands and dads were left behind to fight.

"You couldn't really tell someone was missing but in every single case someone was not there, and they had to worry about someone on the other side of the border," she said of the stoic women she met.

Ema expected the trip would be emotional. But she was surprised by some of the simplest lessons: like how so much of what brings us joy transcends language or culture.

"I have a newfound love for children that I never really knew that I had. Parents were happier. Even an elderly alone woman would feel so much happier just seeing kids around speaking Ukrainian," she said, smiling.

By the time Ema left this week, 1200 refugees had passed through the monastery.

"As a young person I look at the world in a different way than I did before. I want to help again and again. It just opens your mind to how important it is to have people who can jump to action and give a dollar and try to help as much as they can."


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