Here is the report on the trip to the Donbass in December of 2017 and everything we’ve done since then until mid-March.
I wanted to write this was one of the hardest trips, but then I read earlier reports and realized they are all like that. Though the first visits were dangerous in the direct meaning of the word, since we saw rocket fire and were practically making deliveries under fire as in the besieged Pervomaysk. Just being in LPR was dangerous. Now, of course, it’s different, though things tend to get…complicated. But now we face other problems. Mostly psychological in nature.
We are ordinary people, and our entire team consists of people who were never psychologists or physicians or even volunteers. and sometimes it’s hard to come to grips with the reality of what’s happening. Like human villainy and treachery. Many other things. It’s hard to accept things you can’t change.
First, I want to thank my friends. Both Zhenyas and Lena. People without whom none of this would be happening. It so happened that fate brought us all together, and it seems that it was something independent of us and what we wanted. Thank you, friends. Thank you for being who you are. So earnest and good. Caring and wanting to help. Thank you for being on my life’s path.
I think we give much to each other. Very, very much.
I want to say thanks to everyone who helps us make aid possible.
Sasha–my Sasha. Who is always on call and helps us in Moscow with logistics, delivery, loading, and purchasing of medications for people under our care. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Seryozha. Who seems capable of finding that needle in a haystack, and at the best price in the world.
Natasha. She’s jumped in to help not only financially but also psychologically so many times that I realized I now have a friend, even though with age it may seem that it’s difficult to find really close people among adults.
Fate brought me together with many amazing people, and I could thank them without end just for the fact of their existence.
Huge thanks to Mikhail who constantly and stubbornly continues to translate all my posts about the Donbass into English. I call Mikhail our group’s angel). Thanks also to Alyona for her awesome translations into Italian. Thank you for being there.
Sometimes I feel down, sometimes I get tired and have no strength to write, and only you give me that strength and desire to keep fighting. Thank you for being there.
You help me to not give up and to keep moving forward.
And most importantly, thanks to my family which with gnashed teeth lets me go into a war zone and supports all my goings-on.
We did a lot during the last trip. Brought New Year’s greetings to everyone.
Sometimes things got really merry, particularly when we walked around shops, streets, or even just sat in the car in New Year costumes. Everyone honked waved, photographed us. Sometimes things were unbelievably hard. I was truly stunned after our visit to three hospices. I was there before, and not once. But after we brought holiday greetings to every single one of them, I realized this is just too hard, bringing greetings to people who are about to die.
So the report:
Greetings to the patients and workers of hospices: cancer hospice in Lugansk, Kalinovo hospice, and Novosvetlovka Hospice.
View from the window in the Lugansk hospice.
Brought greetings to many kids. If you read the individual posts, you’ll see dozens of happy children’s faces. We were unbelievably happy and honored to play the role of Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden. We visited the tree ceremony in Kalinovo and Lugansk, visited the Okey club for children with developmental problems, and visited disabled children in their own homes, which was difficult since we rushing the whole day from one end of the city to another, but it was worth it.
We visited the blind society and, in addition to children, we also brought presents to the people whom we regularly help.
Apart from New year, we also brought other holiday greetings to people under our care. It wasn’t during my trip, it was done by Lena and Zhenya, without me. Our men got the February 23 greetings and our women and girls got the March 8 greetings.
In addition to presents, we continue to help people with food, medications, and money.
To the extent possible, we continue bringing food. Thanks to everyone who continues donating them, they are very important to people there. New clothes are an unaffordable luxury to many, particularly those with kids. The average salary is only 4-5 thousand rubles. So we delivered clothing to the Lugansk Aid Center, brought a DVD player, a box of discs with cartons to the Lugansk Children’s Rehab Center. Thanks to Anya, who gathered it all up and sent it to us.
We also delivered presents, food, and medications to our Vika, who has diabetes and is blind. We helped buy a water heater for Ira from Vergunka, brought medications to the family of Yura, who also helps us distribute aid. Yura has 7 kids.
In January I wrote a post asking for assistance in helping former POWs. Many of them now have nothing. Their homes are in Ukraine, and they can’t go back since they are “separatists.” I want to emphasize we help them using only funds specifically donated for that purpose.
We brought food to the dorm, also started helping individual families, including Petya’s with three kids and Dmitriy’s.
As you know, we care for many people with cancer. Many of them are unfortunately doomed, and there’s nobody to help them.
We brought household chemicals to the cancer hospice, brought chemo preparations to Ira, but unfortunately Ira died in March.
We continue helping Lilya every time we visit.
We helped Tanya and Lyudmila Nikolayevna with money, medications, and food, brought medications to Anzhela, and also brought her money for a tomography.
We brought Valeriya an anti-bedsore mattress donated by Sasha. Valeriya worked as a nurse for over 20 years. In 2016 she was diagnosed with cancer. Since then she’s had two surgeries and four rounds of chemo. It’s practically incurable. But she still needs help with medications and personal care supplies.
We helped families in Lugansk, including the 13-year-old Natasha and her grandmother. We helped a family with two girls, Sofiya and Nastya. We helped family with two boys, Elisey and Timur who are being raised by their grandmother.
We also visited Pervomaysk where we helped families with food. These are the families about whom I haven’t managed to write about separately:
Marina Polyakova, who raises granddaughter Sasha as if she were her daughter. The mother lost parenting rights when Sasha was 4 months old.
On August 3, 2014, an artillery shell hit their home, when all of them were in the garden making shish-kabobs.
Nikolai Tyndak, about whom I wrote many times. His wife died during shelling in ’14, right in front of daughter Dasha.
Now she’s 7 and she attends 1st grade. “Hurray, butter!”, was the first thing she said when she saw our aid. Not even candy made her that happy.
Though she did recite New Year’s poems.
Elena Chaykovskaya. She came from Ukraine with kids, and has no money even for coal. Two kids, Rita 5, and Valya 3. They were very shy in Snow Maiden’s presence, but eventually managed to recite the poems.
The family has it hard, they are not receiving aid from anywhere else.
I already wrote about this family. This is Yulya from Pervomaysk and her 4 daughters. They live in a one-room apartment. The girls are very merry and were very glad to sing for Grandfather Snow and Snow Maiden, and also read poems–Lilya, Sonya, Dasha, Lera.
The mother is a tireless and smiling heroine.
Another family about which I haven’t managed to write about. The grandmother is raising a grandson on her own. There are many such stories on the blog, unfortunately. The mother is an alcoholic, nobody knows where she lives. The grandmother can’t get custody, since LPR civil courts are not working and can’t deprive the mother of parenting rights, so Zoya Mikhailovna can’t get benefits. They live off her pension.
I already wrote we’re off schedule with our receipts. These receipts are for November and December. I’ll post the January-March ones in the next one.
The most difficult part of each report is uploading and marking all the receipts. Though it’s all difficult. I’m no accountant, and this part is the hardest of all.
Here are some of the letters of thanks we received.
They are addressed to me but they are for all of us. The name Evdokiya Sheremetyeva covers us all.
Once again, thanks to everyone who is participating in our aid efforts! Separate thanks to people who make reposts, which is also important for our effort.
If you want to join the aid effort for the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebook, V Kontakte, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Paypal address: email@example.com.