Perhaps I’ll tell you about some heroes?
For example, Katya.
She, her two brothers, and a sister with parents are from Voluyskoye, a village currently occupied by the Ukrainian military. During the 2014 offensive their house was destroyed, they survived by a miracle and ran to Russia, to a village near Nizhnyy Novgorod. They found a place there and in general their life returned to normal. The father got a job. Children were studying. But in 2017, at night, their house caught fire due to bad wiring.
It was a miracle Katya woke up. She herself dragged everyone out of the house, they were already unconscious.
She saved five people! This girl here, too embarrassed to look into the camera and pose.
Katya got an award.
The family lost everything it had in Lugansk. Everything was destroyed. Just think about it–not even parents’ photos, wedding gifts, baptism diapers. Nothing. The simple words “everything was destroyed” conceal the whole life of a single small, or maybe not so small, family. With its joys, pieces of memory, which one likes to pick over so much in old age. Then everything in their new home in Russia burned. The family was trying to set itself up as best it could, but to no avail.
They lost everything. For a second time.
So they returned home. Already to LPR. There was nothing left in Valuyskoye.
Now they rent an apartment in Lugansk. The father is working to feed everyone. They haven’t been able to get all the documents yet, therefore they are not drawing the multiple child benefit.
And then another calamity. The father fell from a height on a construction site where the found a job. He was working off the books, so he’s not due compensation, hospital days, anything like that.
When Zhenya told me this story I thought about Katya. Such a modest girl from a Donbass village. Who, after surviving shelling, managed to carry out two adults and two children from a burning house by herself, at night. She saved the lives of everyone dear to her. I thought about how unfair life has been to them.
They managed to get away, find a place for themselves. The father was working instead of sitting at home or expecting gifts. But it didn’t work out.
A complicated fate.
And Katya is like a piece of flint, a symbol of some kind for me.
Please remember these stories when you talk about how “one could always leave”, and you don’t understand “why do people return”. People don’t always return out of weakness, but sometimes also out of strength.
It would be inappropriate to say “atta girl” of Katya. The little, thin, and modest girl–is a hero.
And I want you to know there are people like that on the Donbass.
The family with four children is now in a difficult situation. School year is upon them, many kids. They need everything. After all, that which they used to have, they lost twice over. It’s not a family which will need constant help. Not a family about which one can say “they can’t”, “they are too weak”, “it’s hopeless.” No, it’s a different type of people. The kind that “plow earth with their noses.” I don’t like this expression, but here it’s appropriate. But now they need help.
If you want to join in helping this family, please label contributions “Katya”.
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: email@example.com. Paypal address: firstname.lastname@example.org.