Things are on the mend

–Hey, open up!
We are pounding on a recently painted gate.
–I’m coming!
Odd–that’s not Sveta’s voice.
–I’m coming! Oh, who are you?!
Vika is feeling the door, her hair is scattered, she’s holding a cane for the blind and is smiling from ear to ear.
–It’s YOU!!!! Awesome!
Vika opened the door on her own. For the first time. Every other time we visited them in Lugansk, we were met by Sveta, her mom, while Vika waited for us sitting on the couch.


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“Simply” Reunification

There has been a change of government in Lugansk. Kornet, Plotnitskiy.
I have nothing to say. Everyone is asking my opinion, but I am a little person, can I really influence anything?
But I will write about something that perhaps is not related to these events, but which bothers me personally. If there is a reunification, it would be a betrayal of the people of the Donbass.
Sometime ago I was told that “it will be better if they simply reunify, then it will all end.” You know, this is not even funny, because it’s obvious this reunification will not “simply” happen. Only on Facebook and on Ukraine Channel 1 things will be fine.
Why?
After three years of this, about every other family has ties to the Novorossia militia. Every other family has a “regime supporter”, people whom Kiev considers “criminal authorities”–officials, militia, firefighters, doctors, courts, village councils, utilities workers, etc. All of these people are working for the “regime” and from Kiev’s point of view they are “traitors” and are subject to being tried for “terrorism” and “separatism.” As do their relatives. Simple math–two thirds of the population would have to be arrested. Of course, they wouldn’t do that, that would be genocide, since, to the envy of Russia, Ukraine has become Europe. One has to save face, this is not Somalia after all. Therefore the “purification” will be more selective. A few public floggings, the rest will be taken care of behind the scenes. People will be disappeared and nobody will know anything about them. They don’t have Facebook accounts and therefore nobody will raise a stink.

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Thank you for Vika!

Yesterday Vika went shopping on her own. Alone!
Sveta, her mom, quietly observed her. She says the girl messed up only once, she walked past her home. I remember how she, literally a tiny kitten, couldn’t even walk about her room–she took such careful steps, as if afraid she’d fall through thin ice.
Also our lovely lady recently appeared before the local blind circle, sang contemporary songs. People say the girl has quite a voice, strong and clear.
And look at these cheeks!!! You just want to squeeze them!

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He just lay there

Gennadiy Vasilyevich became bedridden two years before the war. He stopped walking altogether. This is what happens to people with Parkinson’s. Motor skills gradually vanish, and the body forgets how to move. I have seen that in my family–the  individual moves less and less, and then completely stops. Then you spoon-feed him and turn him from side to side to prevent bed sores.
Gennadiy Vasilyevich lives in Pervomaysk, he has no relatives.
Or, rather, he does, but they live very, very far away.
And now imagine this is how the war found him. .

For Pervomaysk, the war until mid-’15 was constant hell.
Many forget about that. I do, too.
But then, in ’14, people live in bomb shelters and were hit by shells when going to the store, coming out of shelters to wash, to change clothes in their apartments. As soon as something distracted you, shells would come down around you. Hundreds of houses, of stairwells were wiped out.
Gennadiy Vasilyevich spent that whole time quietly laying in his apartment…The whole war, all these months.
His apartment had windows blown out, but that was normal. There isn’t a house in Pervomaysk that didn’t suffer in ’14. NOT A SINGLE HOUSE where I haven’t seen some damage.
The neighbors didn’t abandon him. They washed, fed, helped him…
He just lay there. And had no way of knowing whether his apartment would be hit or not.
So many tens of lives were carried away. Forever. Because they didn’t have the strength to make it to a bomb shelter. Because they were too old, because they were alone, because their legs couldn’t walk. No electricity, so no elevators, and many couldn’t even make it down two flights of stairs. How many such lonely elderly lived between heaven and earth?
Gennadiy Vasilyevich is still stuck to his bed. Social workers and neighbors are helping him survive.
May God grant them health.

Our humanitarian aid. Thanks to everyone who is pitching in!
The girl next to me is Olya, a social worker in Pervomaysk who is helping many people.
She also helps us help this city. Olya, thank you for everything1

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

“Nobody needs us there”

Iosif Yuryevich has been disabled since childhood.
No family. No apartment. Or, already no apartment.
He’s from Pervomaysk. That same LPR Pervomaysk.
In August ’14 Yosif Yuryevich left for Kharkov.
He was in Ukraine until spring ’17.
Then he returned.
Returned to Pervomaysk, which is on the line of separation.
To the city on the very edges of continued fighting.

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“It’s me, Seryozha, don’t be afraid!”

“Hello, Dunyasha! It’s me, Seryozha, don’t be afraid! Private Kutsenko!”
I was so stunned by the call that I fell silent for several seconds, forcing Seryozha to explain who was calling. But I recognized him right away.
–Seryozha, good to hear from you!
–Indeed!
It turned out he also called our Moscow Zhenya. He spent most of his pension, half of which goes to the retirement home, on calling us.
How he misses us, and how sad he is when we leave him…

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Vika sings!

My daughter was ill, and in the heat she looked at me seriously:
–Mum, I’d rather have Vika get well and me get sick.
It’s not to show how kind my daughter is. Many kids sometimes say such things, and perhaps even draw them.
It’s rather to show how Vika became part of our lives. Theo has never met Vika, but she has seen plenty of times how I ran to and fro to get the medications she needs. Which I do all the time. Half the fridge is filled by medications awaiting dispatch to the Donbass. The majority of them are for our Lugansk girl.
When Vika was in a TB clinic near Moscow, we often visited her. Theo wanted to go too.

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We continue helping

I’ve been writing far less frequently about the people we care for on the Donbass. It’s not so much due to it being hard for me, but rather because everyone is tired and is not opening these posts. But it’s a fact: we’re helping as much as before. Or perhaps even more.
These post contains accounts of aid to 8 families.
Zhenya and I constantly get asked: “How can you  bear it?”
I think the answer would run something like this: “It’s far worse to know about it and not be able to do anything.”
I’m simply grateful you are giving us the ability to do something. I think I wrote about this? But so be it, let me say it one more time. I will probably repeat this constantly from now on. I’m glad to say thanks to you for the aid.
I don’t know to what extent we are doing the right thing.
There are cases in which we help those who perhaps don’t need it. There are cases where people lie, though we always try to check. But I know one thing for sure–I don’t sense emptiness.
There are many various feelings. Exhaustion, bitterness, unfairness, tears. Sometimes I want to give up, we have so many people under our care who have cancer and who are simply doomed. Many of them already died. Many cases are hopeless. It seems Zhenya and Lena are hit harder by these cases. They are on the spot, after all. But I return. Return to normal life. Without war.
Therefore I want to thank them once again. The very close Zhenya and Lena, whom I want to tell they are wonderful.

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Lidia Nikolayevna

Larisa Ovcharenko has been disabled since childhood.
On February 7, 2015, at 3pm, a shell hit her house in Kalinovo, near Pervomaysk. Her sister was killed on the spot. Larisa was hit by shrapnel all over the body, and she lost the ability to walk–her knee-cap was shattered. She had a tube in her lungs for a long time. 3 months of hospitalization.
When we visited her, she was seriously embarrassed and tried to turn away. But let us take photos.

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And then the war happened

There are stories where something bad happened. Some got ill, some died, some lost their homes.
There are also stories in which nothing happened. Or, actually, it did. The war happened.
And hit the most vulnerable. The elderly.
A Ukrainian blogger for some reason wrote a post about me. He acidly wrote that I’m very sensitive when it comes to the elderly.
He’s right. It gets to me. And not only me. All of us. I see my own bedridden father in every elderly person who’s been with us–accidental children. I don’t know whether I did enough for him in those days. It seems I extremely little. All the weight fell on the mother. His departure was protracted and difficult. There were diapers, pain, and shouting. And it’s so inexpressible. So difficult.
We plainly can’t get used to the ordinary life of lone elderly people. Without children, relatives. Living off pensions. With nobody to help them but us. Almost none of them complain or ask for anything.
Zhenya wrote: “A lump in your throat is a constant when visiting these women. It doesn’t matter we’ve been seeing them for nearly 3 years. Impossible to get used to. 2.5 thousand ruble pensions. Nearly all of that goes for utilities. NONE of them filed for Ukraine pensions. None have close relatives. These 2.5 thousand is all that separates them from death, allows them to exist. Exist, because “living” is not the word here. These people did a lot of honest work all their lives. Now they’re surviving. It’s understandable that the young republics don’t have enough resources in time of war and blockade. But…that doesn’t make it easier.”

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