More on the book

Here’s the thing.
I wrote sometime ago that publishers are ready to publish my book about the Donbass titled “People Here” at their own expense, but without photos. They’d publish it with photos only if I covered the cost. Therefore I abandoned that idea, and wrote about it on the blog. On the same day, I received messages from several people asking how much it would cost to publish the book with photos, and offered their financial aid.

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Time for hot water!

This happened during the summer.
We were running from house to house with aid packets when Anna Viktorovna, the director of the Lugansk Children’s Rehab Center, called with an unexpected request. We usually help with food, medicaments, or other necessities. Such as cleaning supplies, diapers, etc., because we grew accustomed to focusing on these key areas. But Anna Viktorovna asked us for glue and wallpaper.
It wasn’t exactly an emergency request but we couldn’t ignore it. Because the center gets no assistance except through volunteers. Anna Viktorovna said that LPR did assign funds for renovating the center, but it was enough just for the basics, and there wasn’t enough for restoring the hallway.
So we grabbed one of their workers and went shopping.


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Hope

Friends, there are news about little Kolya from Lugansk who has purulent meningitis and requires an immediate operation, about which I wrote yesterday.
Almost immediately after the publication, my personal number exploded with countless proposals and advice. Most of them referred us to these organizations which already turned us down. Unfortunately, Kolya’s problems are serious and chances uncertain…But he still has them. In addition to the pain in his head, he has a whole range of other ailments.

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Kolya urgently requires surgery

I don’t know where to begin. This is no time for waxing lyrical.
Kolya’s diagnosis runs several pages.
The worst of it is the purulent meningitis of, and a cyst on, the right brain lobe. He’s already head two surgeries in Lugansk.
He’s still alive. He can be saved. But they can’t do anything more for him in Lugansk. He requires a surgery of an entirely different type, a neurosurgery, in a special ward. If he is not taken out, he’ll die.
We’ve known about this case for several weeks, and to be honest, we were hoping to find solutions that did not require money. We were already able to take people to Moscow twice–Vika Zozulina and Sergey Baranov.
But now we were turned down.
The Burdenko clinic says they only accept paying patients.

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One death every day

I recently received a message from Zhenya, my friend and comrade from Lugansk, with whom we are pursuing this big endeavor.
As usual, the sense of terror makes it impossible to fully realize what is happening, namely that diabetics on the Donbass are constantly dying off.
In March, we were asked to help Kristina, who immediately needed Accu Check test strips. She has a severe case of diabetes which requires that her sugar be constantly monitored. Several people responded to our request for help. They brought so many test strips that about twenty turned out to be in excess (they do have an expiration date).
Thanks to Lena Zhukova, who have us a whole box of glucose meters and test strips by other manufacturers, and responses by other people, we ended up with several boxes of items that are a matter of life and death for diabetics.
Back when we were in Lugansk we found an association of diabetics.
Many thanks to you, Zhenya. One could have simply delivered them to hospitals, but you decided to provide them to those who need these items…Zhenya, we are always so funny, we say “thanks” a thousand times to one another, then “you’re welcome.” And again and again. But how’s one not to say it?
Here’s what he writes:

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What is 400 rubles to you?

–You recognized me?
–Little one! Of course!!!
We quickly found Galina Vasilyevna.
One might say it was thanks to her that we started to bring aid to Khryashchevatoye.
We came during the winter, took photos. Destroyed houses, APCs, and chunks of military equipment.
We saw her as she was slowly walking among burned out tanks and shattered fences.
Khryashchevatoye is a small village.
It was small, then it became downright tiny, as most of it turned to ruins…
Half of it still has no electricity. Nobody has running water. Nobody is drawing salaries, pensions, benefits. They live off whatever grows in their gardens and humanitarian aid which rarely reaches them.
Galina Vasilyavna is little, almost puny. One wants to hug her and carry her in one’s arms.
We came as promised.

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Alone

Sergey Vladimirovich Kutsenko.
His house was totally destroyed by artillery back in August. No family, he lives alone in a barrack…
The girls from Khryashchevatoye village council helped us distribute aid.
–He’s been ill for a long time, something with his legs. It’s like they are rotting. I don’t know.
We drive up to a single-story building, but he’s not there.
–He can’t have gone far.
Sergey Vladimirovich was walking with a single crutch, broken and held together by tape. He was barely walking–rocks, holes, his legs can’t hold him up. The crutch is also barely supporting him.
He has no water or electricity.
I don’t know why, but he really touched my soul for some reason.

Yes, he.
When I was little, very little, I loved men with mustaches.
My dad never had one. But I really loved mustaches. I always wanted him to have one.  I remember my girlfriend had a young dad with mustache, and I adored him. Everyone was laughing at me.
When I saw Sergey Vladimirovich, everything inside turned upside down. It was something from there, from my memories, from childhood. These distant sansations.
He was the last person we visited, after many other elderly, disabled, and no shortage of terrifying personal stories. But I remembered him particularly well.
And, you know, he has an unbelievable gaze. Strong, unbending. He does not evoke pity. Even though the heart breaks.
A tiny room. Bed, two chairs, a table…
–Pardon for the mess, bachelor’s life is like that.
Then he smiles endearingly. He barely walks, his legs shake. But he’s worried about the mess.
He lives alone, cooks alone. Neighbors help him, bring him water.
But he stays mostly in bed, due to terrible pain.
The room is clean, nothing scattered on the floor. There is a stove next to the bed, with a tea pot…
–May we take a photo?
Sergey Vladimirovich takes out a comb that’s tied to a stick. Apparently it’s more convenient that way…
–What’s with the legs?
–Progressive polyarthritis. I let it get out of hand. It started in the ’90s.
He looks at us.
–You see, you have to take care of yourself when you are young. Guys, where did you come from?
–From Moscow.
–I served with a tank regiment there. As a tank commander. Ahh, Moscow.
And he smiles.
You know what? He has pride. Some old ladies begin to cry, often on purpose in order to evoke pity.
Sergey Vladimirovich is cut from an entirely different cloth. He has a different sort of gratitude, it’s so sincere and genuine that it touches the heart.
He rushed to accompany us, wanted to walk with us. In spite of his unbearable pain and suffering.
In spite of his damned crutch.
–Sergey Vladimirovich, we’ll be back.
When we returned home, I told everyone about him. We were at Zhenya’s with Galya Sozanchuk, a hero and a reporter who, like me, also collects aid through the internet, specifically through facebook, and delivers it herself. One might say she’s a colleague.
Thanks Galya!
Galya reacted immediately.
–I have crutches from someone in Moscow.
The next day, we arrived at Sergey Vladimirovich’s place with new crutches and two bags of food.
–Oi, my adrenalin is racing now, daughter…I don’t know what to say…

In reality, he lives in very rough conditions, he needs serious treatment and a pile of drugs. We’ll definitely visit him again and try to help him, not only with food but also by improving his living conditions.
After all, he’s lost everything and lives completely alone.

If you want to help the people of the Donbass, write me in person through LiveJournal, facebook, or email: littlehirosima@gmail.com.

 

Helping the Donbass, Part 4

7 hours at the border. The road to Lugansk with Grad rockets’ blood-red glare on the horizon. A ceasefire punctuated by artillery shells…Empty Pervomaysk, spring sun, and explosions, explosions, explosions…
The Krasnodon orphanage for the disabled and we, dressed in carnival costumes against the backdrop of lead-gray sky and frost-covered trees somewhere afar…
Wall-to-wall surrealism.
Donbass now feels like home, even though Zheka keeps telling us the landscape is now entirely scorched.
But I fell in love with it, with its southern trees and rapidly changing weather.
I never visited it before the war.
This time our car was loaded to the roof, so that we barely made it there. Mud flaps scraped the asphalt with every bump.
We brought everything to where it was needed and distributed it.

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