In late April I wrote about Anya, mother of three living in Lugask.
She’s experienced a serious problem–she practically can’t walk. In her home there are ropes and chairs at every step which she can hold on to when moving about. It all happened suddenly, in one day, and the doctors only said it was “stress” and “war.” “Only” is a strange word and probably the wrong one in this context. Because these reasons are sufficient to cause really big problems.
Doctors said there is a chance for full recovery.
So we and you collected money and managed to cover three months of expenses on medications. After that, she started getting injections and IVs, and there was progress. She started to go outside leaning on a cane. With difficulty, with teeth clenched from the pain, but independently, and that’s a lot in her condition.
I haven’t written about Seryozha for a long time. And I should have.
Three years ago, he was always “Sergey Vladimirovich”, and I always addressed him very formally.
Yes, it’s really been three years, we met him in April of 2015, in Khryashchevatoye. He was walking on a crutch wrapped in duct tape. In a barrack where he lived after his home was destroyed by artillery fire there was no water or electricity. The whole village, which was nearly flattened during the summer of 2014, did not have electricity or water for about a year.
After we left him back then, in April, he fell and broke his leg three weeks later. He spent a whole day on the ground–his phone was dead, nobody could hear him screaming. Eventually an ambulance picked him up but it was too late to save his leg. But he survived, even though his life was hinging by a thread. Seryozha has polyarthritis, and he finds it difficult to walk. It’s a miracle we met, otherwise we would not have been able to help him.
A call late at night–nothing makes sense, there’s only sobbing coming out of the phone. It’s past the curfew, can’t go anywhere.
We were called by Olga Ivanovna, a retiree, who couldn’t even describe what happened. My friends went to see her first thing in the morning.
The woman practically doesn’t get out of bed, she needs medications for which there’s no money. “I’m so ashamed…I have no-one to ask, it’s just us here. and you were so helpful the last time that I had enough medications for three months.”
We brought medications. Situation is critical–Olga Ivanovna has a class 1 disability, almost can’t walk, Type 1 diabetes, hypertension, heart trouble.
The photos show Anya, a mother of three from Lugansk. It seems this is how I begin every story about people requiring aid. But this is not an ordinary story. The family was not in hardship before these events…They were not rich, but led normal lives.
Her husband is on the front lines. Yes, he’s in the militia. Hes, he serves in places from which one might not return.
In November, the girl’s legs gave up. It just happened one day. The physicians just shrugged–it’s the stress, it’s the war, all manner of phrases which collectively expressed the failure to identify the exact cause. One way or the other, she can’t walk.
Zhenya said, after visiting, that all over the house there are ropes, stools, things on which the girl can lean when hobbling from place to place. He says she’s so thin, she’s practically transparent.
The kids help as best they can, trying to maintain the home.
Do you remember Lev?
Yes yes, that very same physics-technology graduate who lives in Pervomaysk, LPR, with a Soviet passport?
Who lost a leg in 2014 due to artillery bombardment?
Well, we visited Lev in March.
And we brought a present. Not just any present, but the kind of present someone who is studying the mathematical definition of the universe really needs.
I really don’t want my reports from the Donbass to be only about sad things. Or, rather, I’d prefer that, when you saw my posts in your feed or on your wall, your heart did not shrink with sadness and you did not think that it’s another awful story about how someone died, is dying, or has lost everything. Yes, there are many such stories. War is a tragedy, broken lives, pain, and our shame.
But in reality, the history of the war in these posts is not only a story of suffering, unlucky people. It’s also stories about heroes, about strong people. About closely knit families, about people with unbelievable willpower and–most importantly–this blog’s story is the story of mutual assistance. Of the great cycle of goodness. And I want you to know that hundreds of people are behind our goodness. Various people. And all of them have enormous hearts.
Please remember this when you read my stories and reports.
Here, for example, is Anya from Moscow. She is in a very difficult situation–her daughter is disabled. I first encountered her in my life when I read about Vika whom we then took to Moscow for eye treatment. It turned out she has TB. She then lost her boyfriend, her grandmother died, and she had already lost her brother before that. Vika was greatly depressed and I didn’t know how to improve her mood. She needed strength and hope.
A young father stands by the doorway. He’s pacing in the snow, he’s not dressed for the outside, jumps up and down. Sees our car, waves at us.
–We’ve been waiting for you since early morning. Got very nervous.
He speaks in plural, gets frantic–he’s trying to shake our hands, runs ahead of us, then lets us pass.
–Vika, they’re here!
We enter the apartment, and there’s an 11 year old girl with her mom, trying to avert her gaze. She saw us, crossed her fingers, and turned away.
Mom is holding her by the hand, hugs her, but the girl is still afraid, though she’s no longer looking away.
Then everything was like in a fog. The girl haltingly reads poems about frost and wind.
She’s very shy, though it’s clear she’s trying very hard. Everyone is helping her, the mom, and dad, Grandfather Frost and I. Then we hugged her, and she was speechless.
As we’re leaving the mother grabs us by the hand–her eyes are full of tears.
–Mom, give me your hand.
Vika jumps onto the couch, spreads her hands, and fixes her long, lovely hair. Sveta holds her hand, but Vika is already performing.
–Music, more music! I’m singing!
We visited Vika in Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden costumes, and the girl decided to honestly earn the presents we were bringing.
She couldn’t see our New Year’s costumes. Between you and I, she doesn’t even know what I look like. To her, I’m some Dunya who’s her height, but she knows my voice, knows it very well.
When she listens, she tilts her head and tries to listen not only what is being said, but sense all the intonations.To capture the connection between what is being said and how it is being said.
–Hey, open up!
We are pounding on a recently painted gate.
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.
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.
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.