To continue the treatment

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.

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“Please help, they killed mom!”

Anya came under fire during the summer of ’14 when she was on the way to her dacha near Lugansk to dig up some potatoes. She lived in a five-story apartment block and hid in the cellar with broken plumbing during shelling. Shops were closed, there was no electricity or phone service. The city was in isolation. After the city was being “executed” using all manner of Ukrainian artillery, Tanya’s, her son’s Sasha’s, and her mom’s Taisiya Ivanovna’s money and food ran out. They held out as long as they could, it was dangerous to go anywhere. The dacha was about 1km from where “their”–Ukrainian–positions.
August 26 was surprisingly quiet. The woman and her son managed to dig up potatoes before the shelling started.  Actually, it wasn’t really shelling, just one shell. Its fragment cut open Anya’s belly and her entrails fell out while her 8 year old son watched. The girl was conscious the whole time. The boy screamed the whole time “please help, they killed mom!”. A guard came running in response. He collected the entrails as best he could, put them back inside, wrapped it all up with plastic, and took to the hospital. She survived and, suffering from extreme pain, she lived for another two years while constantly taking strong pain medications.

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“Authorized Personnel Only”

This is intensive care unit of Lugansk’s City Hospital No. 1. It saves people’s lives around the clock. I wrote about doctors so many times that I don’t want to repeat myself. But how can I not, when we know what they have done during the worst shellings of 2014. When there was no electricity, no communications, and the shelling was constant. They went back and forth, constantly risking their lives. They went where they were needed, even though there were no communications.
And now they go out to save people even during curfews.
Heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure–that’s what plagues the people of the Donbass. What can one say, considering the level of stress there?
Very many doctors have left, which is understandable. But those who remained are genuine heroes. Many did not leave because they couldn’t. They couldn’t abandon their patients. They felt they were needed. They worked practically without pay in 2014-15, and even today the less is said about their salaries, the better…

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On Top of a Volcano

Vergunka, one of Lugansk’s regions, was recently hit. It suffered a lot in 2014, and it’s right next to the line of contact. People live there as if on top of a volcano. And they know more shells can come at any moment.
You know well about Vergunka from my reports, it’s where Ira lives, whom we’ve been helping for a long time.
Ira is a single mom who was abandoned in the midst of pregnancy by her husband during the shelling of ’14. She then gave birth, then restored the house which suffered from shelling. Fixed walls, roof, without any water or electricity, and with an infant to take care of. While Ira was hiding from the shells from Lugansk (which was also shelled, but where else was she to go while pregnant?), her house was totally looted, everything was taken out down to forks and spoons.
We’ve been helping Ira with food, medications, pots and pans, clothing.
Brought a computer for her daughter, then collected money in the winter for a gas water heater. Ira has it very hard, she’s alone and has two kids. She works as a clerk in a store, 10-12 hours a day, and the older sister takes care of Vovka. The days off are spent in the garden and on housekeeping. She earns 5,000 rubles a month, which is not the worst salary given Lugansk conditions.
But now Ira begun to have health problems.

Look at how big Vovka is!

Ira has psoriasis. We brought her medications but they aren’t helping much. It’s clear it’s stress-induced, and she’s also discovered a gluten allergy and gastrointestinal atony. Drugs don’t help. Many of our friends have had similar problems which have led to surgeries. By all accounts, she needs to be in a hospital but what to do with the kids? And one can’t put this off, such problems may turn out to be serious if ignored. She needs analyses, but they cost money. She has no money, she’s afraid to lose work because someone else would instantly be hired in her place. Unfortunately, the conditions there are harsh, there’s even a waiting list of people willing to take her job. Jobs in the Republics are scarce these days (((
Ira has not asked us for help herself. We find everything after the fact, when we drop in with food parcels. She always promises to call but has never done so. “It’s awkward for me, there are probably others who need it more.” She returned nearly all the children’s clothes we brought when their kids outgrew them: “I washed them all, they are in good condition. Someone else could definitely use them”…

Our aid. Thanks to all who participate!
Please label all donations for Ira “Ira”.

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: Paypal address:

Lena and Roma

This is what happiness looks like. This is what a happy family looks like.
That’s what Lena’s family was like until 2014…
Lena buried Roma right in the garden, among exploding shells, tears, paralyzing fear, and incomprehension of what was happening.
August 19 was hot for Vergunka, a small, long-suffering village on the outskirts of Lugansk.

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“It was scary”

Lena visited our Seryozha. He was transferred from Intensive Care to an ordinary room.
He really scared us, the villain.
He’s joking and cursing, but good-naturedly, and of course he’s the main raconteur in the room. I have never met anyone who has known all the existing anecdotes in the world. I always collect them to surprise him. And it’s a rare case when he hasn’t heard something. He nearly always completes them after hearing two words. That’s how he entertains the whole room.
Only one nurse can get him out of bed. Seryozha always replies “I’m getting married, you’re mine!”
That’s his spirit.

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“We’ve never seen this much food”–Sveta speaks quietly, in a low voice.
Dear Lord, this is our minimal food packet–groats, chicken, potatoes, eggs…
The girl has a charming smile and a thick braid of red hair–she and her father are on their own, they have no relatives.
I often write about single mothers. It’s particularly depressing to hear about men who abandoned their families in the midst of war and vanished. But there are also other stories–and thank God for them.
Aleksey adores his 11-year old Sveta. Their mom passed away in 2012 of cancer. Two years later the war came. Eight bombs fell around their house in Lugansk, though only three exploded. They were very lucky–though I wanted to put the lucky part in quotes, but they indeed were lucky.
Their neighbors lost their house, whereas Aleksey’s was only half-destroyed. There at least was something left that could be rebuilt. For some reason his house did not get materials under the reconstruction program, so he did everything with his own hands and money.

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Seryozha, hang on!

Seryozha has had a heart attack.
He’s now in emergency care. He’s not allowed visitors, but his condition is stable.
We’ve been in phone contact. But to be honest, we’re in shock.
The doctors say it was most likely caused by the joint pain medication which he constantly takes. It turns out it may cause heart attacks and strokes…
I’m no doctor so can’t comment.
If only we knew…

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“He’s dead to us”

These kinds of post are the saddest to write of them all. Yes, these are stories of people who suffered from the war. But also stories of people who needed help even without the war. Why sadder? Perhaps that’s not the best word, though the emotion does exist. I feel bitterness when I learn of people who abandon their kids. And when they abandon once-loved women with their children in the middle of war, it makes me angry.
I always want to say so much about these “men”, but almost every time I silently leave it to you to judge. I’m read by many people with Donbass ties, and every time I hope that my posts will reach the intended addressee, so therefore I try not to say anything too harsh, so as not to frighten them away. In hopes their conscience will reawaken.
How naive of me…
In nearly every case, these abandoned mothers and children say the same thing: “he’s dead to us.”
Sometime ago that man chose a woman. Decided to build a family, have kids. Of course, there are cases when people can’t live together anymore. That’s a common situation. But what about the kids?
And I find it hard to accept that the kids are no longer wanted. “These “men” don’t feel it necessary to take responsibility for anything  at all. Continue reading

Greetings from Seryozha

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.

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