It was dark when we arrived without warning to visit Alyona and Marina.
A dark stairwell, a poorly lit street. Light on the first floor. We knock but nobody opens the door. We knock on the window–silence.
We stand in the stairwell and don’t know what to do. We left their phone numbers at home.
Lena says incredulously: “The light is on–they should be home. Where else would they be? The little one is back from school, Marina is also back from work. They never go anywhere.”
Ten minutes later a tiny thin lady shows up and immediately goes on the attack: “Do you have business here?”
Marina and Alyona are two sisters whom we’ve been helping for about a year.
They live alone–they haven’t seen their fathers even once, and their mother is “in name only.” Marina–she’s a bit over 20–works and supports the younger Alyona who’s in 8th grade.
It turns out that prior to the war the mother also had a boarder at their apartment. The boarder left, but her things are still in the apartment, and the girls know nothing about that. In the summer of ’14, during the shelling, Marina left for Russia with her boyfriend. Then she returned and took her her younger sister away from the mother. The mother lived with her partner, and they constantly drank, so Alyona’s situation was simply awful.Marina took her away to a house where they could all live together.
So for the last two years the sisters have lived alone in her mother’s apartment. She doesn’t think of them, but the girls are glad the “mother” has not reappeared.
But the old boarder still reminds of herself, and tries to break into the apartment even to the point of attempting to force in the door. We haven’t known about that, otherwise we’d have warned them.
The girls were afraid and thought we were the woman who once again had come. They were so afraid they didn’t even come to the door. They called a friend who came to fight us off and save the sisters. There were many of us and the woman was alone but she had no fear. And we’re glad that the sisters have someone to call on for help.
When we entered the apartment, the sisters looked like little scared animals. They were both feeling awkward and fearful–they were still in shock.
We felt awkward too that it came to that.
But the sisters are totally awesome. I will never forget how about a year ago I bout them eyeliner but Marina, the older one (the darker-haired one) said very bluntly she does not allow Alyona to use make-up. “Too soon.”
Their home is neat and clean, and there’s almost no furniture.
The sisters are young but they never go anywhere. Where would they go in a frontline city in the evening? They try to save every ruble.
Looking over my posts about them, I accidentally noticed that Marina is always in front and Alyona a bit behind. As if she was protecting, covering her.
Marina, of course, has remarkable strength. In spite of her age she was not afraid of responsibility and is Alyona’s de-facto mom, even though she’s young herself. She’s shorter and thinner than her sister. And she looks like a little fox, but she has more inner strength than many others.
We’re always trying to help them. As you know, we collected money to help pay for their utilities’ debt. Thanks to everyone who cares about the fate of these two sisters, surviving in wartime Lugansk without parents!
Please label any contributions specifically for Marina and Alyona “sisters”.