Sixty-eighth

 

There are 68 Vika-tagged posts on my blog. I wrote about the girl named Vika almost seventy times. I reminded everyone every time that the young beauty lives in Lugansk. That she has diabetes. The she lost her sight. Suffered from TB. Lost a brother. Had a kidney fail. And it seems it’s becoming more difficult for me to write about this girl.
Not because I have been repeating this 68 times. But because Vika herself reads these posts.
Vika has a computer for the blind which we and you managed to organize for her. Before, these posts were read for her by her mother. Not only posts about them–they read nearly everything I write. But before the mother could skip certain parts. Now Vika can read it all herself. She often writes replies, in person, sending smileys and always trying to make me smile and think everything is fine.
And it is difficult for me to remind her of the situation in which she found herself.
I would much prefer to write joyful stories, but when it comes to Vika these stories are always different. It’s a difficult situation. Sveta and Vika would really struggle without your help. So much so that I don’t even know how retell the same story every time.
To read all the posts about Vika, click on the “Vika” tag at the bottom of this post.
This time, I want to write about Sergey from Belgorod. Every six months, like clockwork, he sends “talking” test strips for a special glucose-meter which he bought several years ago specially for Vika.



Curtains and Stools

May I brag? It’s OK, right?
So, we received photos from the Lugansk Rehabilitation Center showing the new curtains and stools which they made thanks to you, friends!
Zhenya calls the Center an “orphanage”, but that’s not quite right. It’s a place where children from broken homes end up and leave only after 11 months of work with psychologists and pedagogues, going to orphanages afterwards. Or return to their own families. Many children from the families we care after ended up here, when they were seriously ill. When there is nobody else to taken in the children, and the mothers are, for example, in a cancer ward or otherwise cannot take care of themselves, the children end up in such “temporary” establishments. They have full room and board there.
By the way, as you recall, we collected money during the summer to fix up the car the Center has. We collected more than was needed. That’s what the rest was spent on. I wrote about it earlier, but the photos were of the just-delivered stools and fabrics.

And now Anna Viktorovna, the director, sent us photos of just sewn curtains. She was so happy, you’d think she hung them at her own home. “Look it’s thanks to you!” One must say the Center is lucky to have her. She is truly amazing. For her, all these children are like family. It is good that there are people so dedicated to this work.
So once again, thank you friends!)))
We are glad to continue assisting the Center.

А сейчас Анна Викторовна, руководитель, сбросила нам фотографии уже сшитых штор. Она так радовалась, словно дома у себя их повесила. “Посмотрите, спасибо вам!”. Вообще, надо сказать, что Центру очень повезло с ней. Она совершенно замечательная женщина. Для нее все эти дети, как родные. И это здорово, что есть такие преданные своему делу люди.
В общем, друзья, спасибо вам!))))
А мы с удовольствием продолжаем помогать Центру.

If you want to join the aid effort for the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebookV Kontakte, or email: littlehirosima@gmail.com. Paypal address: littlehirosima@gmail.com.

Please label contributions intended for this Center or orphanages “orphanage”.


“There are dying people there”

There is a hospice near my home in Moscow. A beautiful one, from red brick, with unusual plants, a pretty guardhouse and expensive cars parking next to it. It’s the First Hospice, located in a nice part of Moscow. As I was walking by, with my face in my phone, a car that I did not notice drove onto the sidewalk. That’s how I accidentally met the woman who was driving. I don’t remember the dialogue, but I do recall well her cry –“Do you know what kind of building this is? It’s a hospice! Do you know what that is! There are dying people there!”. As a matter of fact she was wrong because I was on the sidewalk and she was supposed to let me through, but when I heard her raised voice I was embarrassed. When I looked at the car, the iron gates, my heart suddenly shuddered.
I walked past these walls a thousand times, but now I was suddenly paralyzed.
Do I know what building this is? Do I know what a hospice is?
Oh, woman-stranger, I know what a hospice. Do I ever.
Alas.
In the hospice I visited for the first time there were no diapers, no cleaning solutions. The director asked me whether we could bring reactants…During the bombardments, without water or electricity, nurses and orderlies washed sheets outside and boiled everything in huge vats on open fires. There were people in corridors who escaped the shells because that building was close. This was the Gorlovka hospice.
And then I started to think about other hospices. Hospices over there.
For example, the Kalinovo one where there’s still fighting. At the entrance there was a shell casing serving as an ashtray. A day before our visit a shell exploded 5 meters from the building, breaking kitchen windows.

I’m often asked why I don’t do aid in Russia. Many regions, let’s just say,  are in a difficult situation. Supplies, repairs, furniture. I realize that many hospices are not as comfortable like the one past which I often walk. I’ll say this–I will never forget how the director looked at me with fatigue and joked that since mortar bombs exploded in his garden, he won’t have to dig it up. I won’t forget how he asked us for “more underwear”. Cheap underwear!
Most of the hospice workers in ’14 and ’15 worked for free and these back salaries were never paid to them. They went out under the shells, washed the dying when there was no electricity, took the bedridden out into the corridors so that they would not be hurt by flying glass.
I’m more needed there. On the Donbass. Because…it’s war. Is there anything worse? I don’t know what other explanations are necessary.
Friends, if you want to help us in our assistance to hospices, please label your contributions “hospice”.
This is truly vital assistance!
This time my friend, a young beautiful woman who does not live in Russia, sent money and asked that they be used to help hospices.
Thank you, sister! No other words to describe it.


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Irina Aleksandrovna

Irina Aleksandrovna is from the village of Frunze, LPR. It’s in the “gray zone”. You know what that is? Briefly, a place where there’s fighting. On the “line of contact.” After yet another shell impact (which are not rare there) the woman grabbed her four grandkids, picked up the bag with documents, and drove to Lugansk. Abandoned a house where she had lived her whole life. Where are the children’s parents? They are the sort that social workers euphemistically refer to as “unfit”. The mother exists only on paper. But luckily the kids have a grandma.
Irina Aleksandrovna was born in 1963. When Lena visited them, she was not clear on who was coming with the kids. A child, a sister? Tiny, thin, “only eyes”.
The woman fled to Lugansk. Friends of friends put her up in an apartment near Kambrod. It was empty since ’14–the owner had left. But allowed them to live there.

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“Living Plasma”

These red-headed kids became “ours” in recent days. Indeed–“ours”. We’re helping them. And I don’t think we know a family that provokes such positive emotions. Every time when Zhenya sends photos of these incredible kids, I smile from ear to ear. Just look–it’s a miracle!
They live with their grandmother. Mother’s heart failed. Where’s the father? He might as well not exist. He chased out the pregnant with with the young daughter. Chased her out to Lugansk where Sasha, the younger one, was born. They used to live in Crimea. The mother is originally from Lugansk. She had nowhere else to go so she went home. What happened, why–we’ll never know. I also don’t think it’s worth digging. The fact remains–the grandmother is raising the two kids. And she is struggling.
To read more about them, click on the “redheads” tag at the bottom of this post.




News about Elena Ivanovna

Friends, I have not written about Elena Ivanovna not because there are no news, but because there is still no clarity.
But since it’s been over 2 months since the last publication, I’ll make some clarifications.
In June, I wrote about Elena. The situation is, to put it mildly, complicated. Specifically: she had a hip bone fracture, and now needs a joint replacement. It happened in ’15, when it was difficult to perform such a surgery.
’15 was not as bad as ’14 for Lugansk, when there was active fighting, but still, LPR was totally destroyed. The joint was somehow fixed in place and it fused improperly. She could hardly walk for two years, then began to walk with crutches, but with difficulty. At that time her husband fell ill. Throat cancer. He expired quickly. Last fall Elena fell and injured her hand. Since then the hand is immobile which means she cannot fully use her crutch. Husband died, she lives alone with her son.
She can’t work, everything rests on her son–cooking, cleaning, laundry–EVERYTHING.
That’s the short version.
We undertook to help her, and then it turned out that it’s not simple at all.
First of all, she’s a Russian citizen who’s lived in Lugansk for the last 20 years. With a residence permit. So she cannot be on the waiting list for a free hip replacement (rules). On the other hand, going to Russia is also problematic. She’s not easy to transport. Right now she’s seeking to obtain an LPR passport. But there are huge waiting lists and, most importantly, one has to wait for YEARS for a free operation…Another woman we help, Yulya, has been on such a list for 18 months. No end is in sight…
Doctors advised to try to pay for it.
We are examining options on how to do it with minimum expense.

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Yulya and Lera

I’m often asked–how do we find people who need assistance?
It’s an interesting question, but also a banal one–it always varies. In some cases it’s the neighbors, in others acquaintances. In general, of course, we get referrals from the Social Services Center in Lugansk, which is where people who need help go. Curiously, nearly all the direct, first-person appeals we encountered on the internet turned out to be either lies or divorces. Not always, of course. And then there are the cases where we accidentally encounter such people ourselves. I remember how we met one granny in Khryashchevatoye. We then came to simply take photos of the village where nearly half of the houses were destroyed. There were lots of burned out vehicles on every street. Tanks, APCs. It was January 2015. We met her right on the street. She was taking tiny steps, with felt boots over snow, bent almost all the way to the ground. We pushed some money into her hand and she cried. Since then we have found her and came to visit more than once.

That’s what happened with Olya.
This young woman lives next to our sisters whom we’ve been helping for years. Our friends have noticed her a long time ago–a young woman, but limping with a cane. One time when we were bringing more aid to our Alyona and Marina, we saw Yulya once again. Got to talking. Turned out not for naught.
Zhenya says:

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Seryozha

“Greetings, Dunyasha! How are you? As for me, I’m fine…Why aren’t you coming? I would like to at least catch a glimpse of you. Try to get away, or you might not get here in time.”
Our friends sent me this video with Seryozha Kutsenko.
The link is below.
I miss him so…
All in all, I really want to go to Lugansk.
To Seryozha, Lev, my Lena and Zhenya, Yulya, Vika–all of them.



Video with Seryozha:

 

We’ve known Seryozha since spring of ’15, when we were bringing aid to Khryashchevatoye. More than half of it was destroyed due to fighting. Seryozha lost his home in the summer of ’14. He lived in a barrack when we met. There was no electricity, water, gas for a long time. He has polyarthritis and at the time could walk only on crutches. Please read other posts about him by clicking on the “Kutsenko” tag at the bottom of this article.
Seryozha then lost his leg, and nearly died. We were all then saving him, and afterwards our friends managed to get him into a retirement home where he’s been living ever since. And we always come to visit him.
I have not been there for a long time, but our friends go there regularly.

How is he doing? He races in his “tank” (what he calls his powered wheelchair donated by Natasha), and sends everyone greetings. He has problems with blood pressure, weakness. It was very hot in Lugansk when the video was recorded. He’s taking it poorly. Hence the sadness.
Overall, everything is as before.
I’m only sorry he did not say an anecdote.
If only you could hear one–few people can do it like he does.
Friends, thank you for your caring!

If you want to join the aid effort for the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebookV Kontakte, or email: littlehirosima@gmail.com. Paypal address: littlehirosima@gmail.com.



Grasshopper

I will arrive in Pervomaysk and you know what? The first thing I’ll do is drive down the Makushkin Street, away from the central square with the Lenin. I’ll be driving between the poplars arrayed along the road as if they were soldiers. They will stand and greet me. Poplars. Then I will turn into a tiny lane. There will be swans carved from tires, and flowers from plastic bottles. I will come to a tiny home, ascend the stairs to the second floor. Along the way everything will be strewn with five-liter bottles filled with water. Then I will hear rumbling and–it’s Lyova, our grasshopper, who opens the door and is dumbstruck:
–Dunya!
–Lyova!
And I will be interrogating our Lyova–what should we buy, what to bring? Why is his leg hurting? What about arm joints? Is he cold? Is there clothing? What about the passport? Lyova, I haven’t seen you for a hundred years, my dear!
And Lyova, getting up on his one leg, will throw off the crutches and exclaim boldly: “look, I can still do this!” And turn around on his one leg. I have seen this many times and it seems he really likes to shock me like that.
I will be in awe, and why not? Lyova lost a leg back in ’14 after a shelling. He’s been hopping along on one leg since then. He uses crutches, but can make do without.
So I’ll be bugging Lyova, and he, I guarantee it, he’ll ask for another book. About physics and the secrets of the Universe.

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From Vergunka

There are posts which one doesn’t want to write.
You put them off, keep thinking that they’ll write themselves. But they won’t. And nobody will do it for you.
It’s difficult to write about Vika. The girl was nearly raped. An elderly dirtbag (“gramps” is what she told the detective) beat her up, tried to do his thing, but failed. Vika was at first afraid to tell her mom and hid at a girlfriend’s place. Then she cried and spent a week under a blanket at home. Vika’s 15. The monster who attacked her escaped. Fled LPR. That’s where things stand–without details.
Vika is doing poorly, she’s still afraid to leave home and it seems she doesn’t realize yet what had happened. And please–there is no need for advice. We know she needs a psychologist, we know she’s been traumatized and so on. We are working on that.
We also know well that yes, the family would be better off in Russia, and it would be good to leave like many others in difficult situations. But that’s great only in theory. Those who give such advice perhaps want the best for them, but are too divorced from the reality of the war on the Donbass and the current situation there. Please understand that if they haven’t done that there are reasons for that. It’s not always that they are “lazy” or want to get “free stuff”, or even “unwillingness to work”, etc.
I wrote about Vika in late July. And dear Lord, comments are still being written. The saddest part is the pile of monsters who wrote Vika looks sexually mature and so on. Yup.
Friends, no matter who you are, is it ever allowed to rape them?
I still believe that the scum who do such thing ought to be castrated and isolated from society.


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