My book about the Donbass was written during the 2015-16 winter. At that time we were busy taking Vika from Lugansk to Moscow to try to save her sight.
Vika was taken in by one of the best opthalmological wards in Moscow. The hospital at FMBA.
While Zhenya and I were driving around Moscow, Vika was smiling from ear to ear and listened to our descriptions of what we saw. We drove through the center, and Our Bellflower kept listening to the street noise. It was her first time in Moscow so she wanted to know every detail.
Vika stood in a long hospital corridor when we and Sveta, her mom, were summoned by the chief physician. We stood in hospital slippers, mumbling something about Lugansk, eyesight, and diabetes. But we soon realized eyes were not the issue. She was in serious condition.
A few days later, after analyses, it turned out Vika had TB and she was promptly placed in a ward. She spent the next 6 months choking on tons of medications poured into her.She was in a coma, lost her boyfriend, and her grandmother died back in Lugansk. She had a surgery in the summer, removing part of the lung, after which Vika returned home to Lugansk without her eyesight restored.
It was then that I wrote the book in the evenings. We, Zhenya, friends, and readers went to Vika every couple of weeks. Brought her food, presents, tried to support her as best we could. It’s all in that book. Not about how we drove to the clinic. It’s just that it was with me. Vika, Sveta, their pain. They were next to me when I was hammering out words about the bombed out Pervomaysk or the Gorlovka hospice.
I remember we were walking in a park, but Sveta came out with bare feet with only flip-flops. It was very cold, but she felt warm. Vika was freezing the whole time, no matter how many sweaters, jackets, and hats we put on her, yet she would refuse to go back to her ward.
It so turned out there is not a word about Vika in the book. I couldn’t do it. Even though Vika occupies such a big place in my visits and our aid.
I didn’t know what one could write about it. War, brother’s death, loss of sight, TB, comas…Dear Lord, everything was collapsing and we didn’t know where to even start. Everything was falling apart and we had no idea what to do. And we didn’t know what would come next. We were captive to some sort of superstitious fear.
Two years later, we’re still helping Vika. I’m posting photos where Vika is happy. We are all happy.
And this girl is not the same one that was shivering within the walls of TB ward.
Many people have grown close to Vika, and they continue helping her. Thank you, friends! When I visit Vika in Lugansk, I always see you, pictures on the walls, shelves with perfumes, cosmetics, earrings, dolls. Most of her clothes are your gifts. Many little things which you thoughtfully sent her from every corner of the planet.
Vika sings a lot and performs at public events. She’s even been written about in newspapers.
She uses a computer for the blind which she has thanks to you. She goes out with friends and tries to live her life. As best she can in her situation. Without sight and with diabetes.
Her condition…What can I say? Her condition goes up and down like her damned blood sugar.
Back in the summer, we collected money to fix up their bathroom. The repairs are ongoing and it should be finished by onset of cold.
We hope this winter they will have running water and canalization indoors. Sveta has had to bring water from the well for the last 18 months due to pipe problems.
If you are here for the first time, if you want to read more about Vika, click on the “Vika” tag at the bottom.
Friends, thank you for Vika. For Viktoriya.
Viktoriya means victory.
So be it.
May Vika and Sveta be victorious over all difficulties.
And one day I will be able to write about it simply and without effort.
If you want to help Vika or other 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.
Please label donations for Vika “Vika”.