“I see”

–Mom, can Vika be cured?
–No.
–But technology changes. Maybe they’ll find a cure?
–Perhaps.
–Absolutely, I’ll grow up, and Vika will see. I’m sure of it, no doubt about it. Right, mom?
I’m writing a post about our girl. Kids are running around and occasionally look at the computer. And on the screen Vika is laughing in sunglasses. Daughter knows Vika well and tells Sasha:
–That’s Vika. She can’t see. She gave me a bracelet, she made it herself.
The boy started to think.
–Dunya, why can’t she see?
I started to think too. The answer to this question is so complex, and the boy wants simple words so that it would become clear immediately.
–She has diabetes.
That is true. But there is something I didn’t say.
–You go blind from that?
–It can happen, but nowadays people can live with diabetes for a long time if they take proper medications.
–She didn’t?
–You know, Sasha, Vika went blind because of the war?
–She is from the Donbass?
–Yes, Sasha, she’s from the Donbass. She lives there.
Я задумалась. За вопросом стоит такой сложный ответ, а ребенок ведь хочет какие-то простые слова, чтобы сразу всё стало ясно.
– У нее диабет.
Кажется так, да. Но что-то не сказала.
– От него слепнут?
– Такое может случится, но сейчас с диабетом люди могут жить долго, если принимать правильно лекарство.
– Она не принимала?
– Понимаешь Саша, Вика ослепла из-за войны.
– Она из Донбасса?
– Да, Саша. Она с Донбасса. Она там живет.
–I see.


Yes, our Vika is from Donbass, from Lugansk. We’ve been trying to help her for three years. Three years of fighting for her life. But we weren’t able to save her sight. And the diabetes is incurable. Vika lost two front teeth, she has many health problems, but dammit, the girl is alive.

She had TB and it was cured. The pressure within her eye jumps so much that she screams, but Vika takes eyedrops every day and now she laughs. She’s had several hypoglycemic comas but she now goes to the store on her own.
She has a computer for the blind and even a glucose meter which speaks the glucose levels out loud, and which we all provided her with.
You know, I don’t know whether to be happy about what I’m writing. Because I wanted to write something positive but the kids knocked me off that path.
They asked so many questions that I immersed myself again in these three years of struggle. You can read these posts, and there are many, by clicking on the “Vika” tag at the end of this post.


Vika is doing well, as you see. But her life still consists of constant visits to the doctor. Every six months she has to go to the hospital and undergo a course of treatment. We try to buy her everything needed. Sveta, her mom, doesn’t always tell us about family problems. I recently found out by accident they have big problems with water. In the winter they simply do without. Everything freezes, so the pipes rotted out. They have to be replaced but that costs money. There is water only during the warm part of the year. Sveta was embarrassed to tell me about it.
That’s how things are.
But overall, Vika is on the upswing, and that’s the main thing.
She’s mastering the computer, goes out, and laughs.

Thank you, everyone, for your caring, aid, responsiveness!
Vika would not be here if it weren’t for you. Those aren’t empty words. That’s the truth.
Thank you!!!

Medications.

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 for Vika “Vika”.

“It will be enough for two months”

Lana married young. She went far away to live with her lover, got pregnant, but the beatings started almost immediately. It was so bad the girl ran off with her newborn to mother. The three of them have been living together ever since on the Pobedonosnaya St. in Lugansk. Those who spent 2014 in Lugansk know that in August artillery shells came in every day. Lana described how she saw “a woman torn in half” while waiting in line for water distribution.
There was no water, no electricity, no phone service. One could survive without many things, but not without bread and water. People came out of their apartments to get them, right under the shells.
I remember very well how the locals and Zhenya described August of that year at the time, shortly after these events. People could hardly bring themselves to talk about it. And if they did, only with trembling voices and flowing tears. Zhenya: “At that time, the ‘liberators’ were entertaining themselves by shooting at people who stood in line for water and bread, and where there was still phone service. Hundreds of people would meet there to send news to their relatives they were still alive. But the spotters worked there too.”
I remember how Zhenya told us about going to the roof to catch a phone connection to send a text message he’s still alive. There were no communications, but it was clear the city was under fire.

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Please read

There are posts which are difficult to write because it’s hard, because no matter how you look at it, it’s pure hopelessness. So immense that it leaves you with a sense of emptiness in which one can hear only the sound of fingers hitting the keyboard. Don’t worry, this is not one of those posts.
Please open it, instead of scrolling past it. Please read it. Because this is why we and our friends got involved in all this in the first place.
It’s a post about you, about hopelessness, and about a miracle.
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Belbek Valley

Nearly all the best known mountain spots in Crimea (the Big Canyon, cave cities of Eski-Kermen, Mangup-Kale, and others) are in the Belbek Valley.
The word “belbek” has many meanings–“strong back”, “big coming”, and others.
There is no single interpretation, but it’s clear that the valley bears the name of the river. From among all the versions, I best like the “dagger.”
The valley is a river bed with many tributaries which are like sword blades. It’s a long valley hidden in low “mountains”. The tourist spots I mentioned above can be found in its various parts.
But we visited friends and hiked that part of the valley where there are almost no tourists.
The views are stunning.


“He felt it”

Sasha looks like a hero from Gaidar’s tales. Or perhaps not Gaidar’s, but there is something about him that’s positive and attractive. The pressed lips, the modest but penetrating gaze.
A beautiful boy with a terrible fate.
Sasha lives in Lugansk with his grandmother Taisiya. His mother was wounded by a shell fragment in 2014. They managed to put her entrails back together at the hospital, but she died two years later. He hasn’t seen his father for many years but he has not formally abandoned him and is not about to. Therefore Taisiya cannot obtain any child care benefits. She herself was in a hospital not too long ago following a stroke, with two days in intensive care.


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Anya is walking!

You have to see this!!!
You see the girl on the photo, leaning against a door jamb?
That’s Anya!
That very same Anya who stopped walking during the winter. Her legs could no longer support her so she was able to move only by holding on to stretched-out ropes and stools. “Stress, nerves”–doctors who did not understand what was happening just raised their arms and said many words. But behind all of it there is only one word–“war”.
I wrote about her back in April. Anya is a mother of three who has a loving husband. After an unexpected illness, the family’s entire income went to treat it. But the money was desperately short. And thanks to you, we were able to collect enough for the first round of treatment.

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Ours

Not too long ago, someone put one of my posts on Yandex-Zen and the number of my blog’s views went straight up.
I haven’t seen that since 2014, and that’s very good. And I would like to tell new readers that, in spite of my numerous selfies and Crimea photos, our aid to the people of Donbass is ongoing. We continue to help nearly every day. And thanks to those who participate in it. This is a complex, multi-stage process, linked by many invisible threads.
I don’t know how often I should write about Donbass. I could write reports every day, or once a week. Now I write several times a week, so as not to overload you. And to be honest, it’s hard for me to write more often, I get lost in the thicket of phrases. What’s more, I have written about it so many times that it’s difficult for me to find a new way to tell it, and I feel like a bore.
But, overall, thank you for being with me.
This report-post is about people under our constant care. There have been so many posts about them that I don’t want to become a parrot repeating the same over and over again. Please read about them, there are tags at the bottom of the post pertaining to them. This is assistance to people who find it hard to survive in wartime conditions.

This is our Seryozha. Seryozha, Seryozha, Seryozha…Not a simple story to tell. He now lives in a retirement home in Lugansk. Without a leg, a home, a family, but with polyarthritis…


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Life in the Midst of War

An old friend recently wrote me a letter in which he was upset that, judging by my postings, one would think everything’s going badly in LPR. Because there are positive examples too. I could answer my readers that no, not everything is going badly. There are families whose affairs are in principle going well. Moreover, I would say there are people, everywhere, of a kind capable of surviving in any situation. And not only survive but find work or ways to make money even where it’s impossible. It’s as if they are literally a tank, they can fight to the end. But there aren’t so many of them. Since I mainly write about those who need help, my reports don’t include many positive examples. Not because they don’t exist, but because we help those who can’t help themselves. People with problems or in dire straits. Illness, loss of house, wounds. It’s single elderly, single moms with many kids, disabled.
And here’s what I wanted to say. If one were to work as an investigator, with time one starts thinking everyone around is a criminal. It’s a point of reference, a vantage point which influences one’s perception of the situation and the world as a whole. So it’s important to preserve clarity. I don’t know whether I have such clarity. What I see in LPR is, in most cases, sadness. It’s a region in a state of uncertainty where it’s nearly impossible to exist and improve one’s situation. The Republics are not recognized, formally they don’t exist, nearly all the economic ties have been interrupted, and yes, there’s fighting. People are getting by. But its possible my pessimism has to do with my vantage point, not objectivity. I don’t know.
But from what I see in shops, on the streets, and all the institutions I visit, people are for the most part surviving. Many (though not all, of course), those who could, left. I see heroic doctors, emergency first responders, utilities workers, who helped ordinary people under a rain of rockets. I see many genuine people, People with a capital P. But most of them are struggling. They have poverty wages, it’s hard to find work, and the prices in shops are like everywhere else. Many survive thanks to gardens and relatives. Possibly this is my own vantage point. Because barber shops, beauty salons, supermarkets where there are dozens of sausage brands and red fish keep on working. Sushi bars and restaurants are opening up, which apparently have a clientele? So there are consumers.

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Not for nought

When I graduated from college, I went to work for a PR agency. , I remember myself swimming in a pool, after a month of endless press releases, press clippings, and press kits, and thinking–what’s the point? What’s the outcome? The answer upset me. It’s possible I poorly chose the way to apply myself and had I chosen something other than PR I’d have found myself. But it was what it was.
Back then, under a thick layer of chlorinated water, I thought about how much I wanted to go somewhere as a volunteer, so that my efforts would be useful and lead me to believe I do not live for nought. Volunteer at an orphanage, a retirement home, a hospice. Of course, I had no idea what these places were like, and that in reality helping there is an unbelievably difficult endeavor. Although perhaps I realized what the reality was like, because I did not advance beyond thinking about it. Even today I can say I’m not quite up to it. But by paths unknown, without even wishing it, I became a leader (is there a more correct way of stating it?) of a tiny unofficial welfare fund for aiding the people of the Donbass. There are many of us and the main people in this process are our Lugansk Zhenya and Lena. It’s also my many helpers and friends here, in Moscow, other cities, and other countries. I don’t fully know the scale of work we’ve done. I only see what’s happening today and write about it. We got ourselves into various situations, sometimes got experienced disappointment, bitterness. A lot happened–some of that you’ve read about and experienced with us. But there are several people whom we help on a permanent basis, people who have become flags, markers.

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Taisiya

Taisiya Pavlovna went to wash floors in the neighboring stairwell. She had no money, the tiny Lugansk pension is not enough, and she also has to feed her grandson who lives with her. Neighbors pay her 400 rubles a month for this work, supplementing her tiny budget.
The day was hot, very much so. The Lugansk heat can be treacherous. This is one of the hottest steppe heats there is. On that day it was 45 degrees Celsius in the shade–or about 120 Fahrenheit. She went home right after washing. She felt fine, only a little uneasy. She laid down in her apartment, closed her eyes, and woke up naked surrounded by whilte walls. And butterflies before her eyes. She spent a day unconscious in intensive care. She was saved by her grandson Sasha. Another hour and she’d have been past saving. But the boy felt something–he came home earlier than usual and found her unconscious.

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