Perhaps I should tell you about the main reason for this trip to Lugansk?
Here’s what happened.
One evening, when I was already falling asleep, I got a letter from Natasha. Her profile photo shows an unbelievably beautiful blonde–I had no idea. “Dunya, tell me, how are things with the wheelchair for Seryozha Kutsenko?” How are things? They are nowhere. It’s expensive, I say. Electric ones are like that. Can’t collect enough money.
“Maybe I’ll buy one?”
And things took off.
We started with looking at a used, cheap one, and ended with a cool German brand new one that’s insanely expensive.
This lovely lady totally stunned me, and on top of that keeps saying there’s no need to write about it. Yeah right, Natasha. I’ll post the best photo right here. Let others envy me.
All in all, we managed to get it by Seryozha’s birthday (actually a couple of days later) and went to surprise him.
“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!
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…
We haven’t written about Seryozha a lot lately, he usually gets a mention in the general reports.
Lena is trying to visit him as often as possible in the retirement home in Lugansk.
Seryozha is sad. He’s had problems before the war, but the amputation of his leg in ’15 broke his life.
We already wrote last year he finds it difficult to be alone and confined to a wheelchair. He’s not strong enough to roll up the ramp into the home. He has polyarthritis, after all. So he can’t traverse any obstacles without help. And yet there’s a lovely forest park right next door.
He’s very sad and asks about us and Zhenya all the time.
Seryozha is doing fine.
Time has stopped at the Retirement Home. It flows slowly, unhurriedly.
How does one explain Seryozha to new readers?
We met him 1.5 years ago in Khryashchevatoye which was nearly completely bombed out by the UAF and NatsGvardia. Streets were in ruins. Houses were in ruins.
We ran into him by accident. And, by the will of fates, we saved his life.
That’s how it turned out. Read here.
Seryozha lost his leg, his home. But still had polyarthritis.
That’s it in a nutshell, but only a tiny part of who Seryozha is and what he means to us…
Seryozha and I are both Scorpios )
I was not the only one to celebrate my birthday recently.
The guys caught up with our Kutsenko in the retirement home hallway.
It so happens Zhenya and Lena were still in hospital on his birthday so could not convey birthday greetings on that day.
But they arrived without warning later, found him, and surprised him with a huge cake with candles, and with presents.
Aren’t they great?
I still see Zhenya’s sly smile and Lena’s concentration at lighting the candles )))
And, of course, our Seryozha keeping our guys away from home )))
A humanitarian volunteer’s workday is boring and not media-friendly.
It consists of phone calls, compiling lists of medications, visits to pharmacies, night-time bus deliveries, responding to letters, reports which are difficult to write in such a way that others want to open and read.
Well, what else is new? Food, with a “littlehirosima” sign next to it. There’s nothing left for readers to add in the comments section.
Are we awesome? Yes, we’re awesome. What else can one say. I sometimes don’t even know what to write.
Yet behind each of these reports is the effort of many people. Discussions with nurses and doctors, the search of the right bus on which to send a package, money transfers, purchasing medicine, seeking out the right pharmacy, stamping the receipts, keeping records, trips to the store, taking and sending photos, etc.
There are many of us who constantly perform unnoticeable yet titanic efforts–in Moscow and Lugansk. There are many who help without being noticed.
When things are tough and I feel I am doing everything wrong, I always think about him.
Volunteering and humanitarian aid are complex matters.
Not everyone who is crying genuinely needs aid.
While earlier I was desperate to “do something” because “there’s war there, things are bad, hunger and death,” now I realize that human nature is clever and deceptive.
Some people lie, others don’t know how to receive aid. Some are rude, others accuse you of not bringing enough, or for taking things for yourself.
People are all different, and sometimes you get overwhelmed by the dozens of stories.
But among all of them, there is our Seryozha who absolutely doesn’t care about appearances. Who has come to love us like family.
I once wrote that our effort now resembles that of a philanthropic foundation–we have to do so much.
But most importantly, in addition to the visits, we try to continue providing aid to needy families to the extent of our abilities. In other words, providing aid is now a continuous process.
All of that faraway work is performed by our Lugansk Zhenya and Lena.
At some point, once he agrees, I will write about them. I will write a great deal. Both have become close friends.
Our Seryozha Kutsenko. He now lives in a retirement home for the veterans of Great Patriotic War.
The guys regularly bring him tasty things in our absence, but the main thing are the visits themselves, since he is lonely and bored there.
There is almost no place in LDPR where one could go swim in a river. You can’t go running through the fields or venture into forests after mushrooms. The stories of people who have in various parts of the Donbass encountered tripwire mines and boobytraps are part of the daily reality of the Republics. Radio, TV, and posters all warn against straying away from roads. No fields, forests, road shoulders, lakes, or streams for you. It would have been impossible to believe even 3 years ago.
But it’s been a year since we placed our Seryozha Kutsenko in a retirement home.
Lugansk is blooming. It’s drowning in greenery and the oppressive heat which makes you want to melt away and die has not arrived yet.
We know someone who lives there. Seryozha.
He now lives in a retirement home for the Veterans of the Great Patriotic War. Once upon a time he was a tank commander, a Master of Sports for Boxing, and a champion of Ukraine.
Then he got polyarthritis. The war finished him off, depriving him first of his home and then of a leg.
He is from Khryashchevatoye which was wiped off the face of the Earth during the summer of 2015.
Everyone who has been reading me for a while knows Seryozha Kutsenko’s story. How we saved him, collected medicines, found him a place at the retirement home. What’s there to say…