“Stresses”

You remember Natasha, right? A crazy and terrifying story.
A young woman, mother of two, epileptic. Lost her husband and home to the war. Due to “stresses” (heavens, what word can one use to describe “war”, the death of a husband, the loss of a home to shelling?) she developed a tumor on her head. She had a surgery and a plate inserted. We’ve been helping her since the summer.
Here’s how where things stand right now.

I’ll cite Zhenya, since he and others have been doing everything:
“After a visit to neuropathologist, at the regional clinic (if you want this “hero’s” name, it’s in the medical history extract). He prescribed a “wonder drug” which is “guaranteed to help.” Though he forgot or ignored her earlier prescriptions for epilepsy. We drove around the town, found the “wonder drug”. And…Natasha’s life was barely saved. Blood and foam came from her mouth. She couldn’t inhale. They barely managed to pump her stomach out. It turns out that when that “doctor’s” prescription is combined with her other drugs, it becomes poison. She was very lucky to get stomach pumped in time.
People! HOW”S THAT POSSIBLE? You have this far from young “experienced” asshole prescribing a powerful drug with a long list of side effects who cannot be bothered to find out what else is the patient taking?”
No comment from me. We were all in shock.

Thank goodness our friends found a normal doctor in Lugansk who helped after a thorough examination.
One of the source of problems with Natasha’s head turned out to be her teeth. She started losing them after the war started. She has a bunch of rotten stumps which get infected all the time.

Here’s what Zhenya wrote:
“Here’s what we did:
1. Took her to a hospital, 10 days in neurology. An IV for epilepsy and spine pain, immobilized her neck. Promised it should be enough for a year.
2. Organized an examination at the cancer clinic (lump on the head). Came back negative–HURRAH!
3 Organized an exam at the oral surgeon and a neuropathologist.
4. Underwent all the analyses, some of which had to be paid for.
5. A complete jaw x-ray.
6. Began to remove tooth roots (Poor Natasha is suffering, eats mashed food only).
7. Brought food twice in the last month (see photo).
8. Provided necessary drugs.

Enormous volume of work. We were particularly afraid of what the cancer clinic would say.
Thank goodness tests came back negative.

These are photos from the fall. Our friends brought her food and medications, as noted above. Most importantly, Zhenya helped with the doctors and analyses. Unfortunately, most of them in Lugansk are not free, and there’s nothing to be done. Moreover, all the specialists have long waiting lists.

Friends, I want to thank everyone who responded to Natasha’s need.
You can’t even imagine how much we were able to do thanks to your contributions.
She wouldn’t have managed without us. The cost of the plate in her head alone was beyond her means. Then there are her debts to the neighbors, grocery store, utilities. We were able to deal with all that. I have no words.
Thank you!


But Natasha still needs fillings for 7 teeth. She’s still a young woman, can’t make live without teeth. She needs inexpensive removable plastic prosthetics. Natasha has no money for them, either.
I already wrote that after the war started, Natasha’s fits became more frequent even though she had almost none earlier. Her epilepsy used to be under control. Now it is not, and she can’t work.
They live on a pension and disability benefits, which is barely enough to survive. They struggle to buy enough food. If it weren’t for us, it’s impossible to say what would have happened.
“Stresses” simply knocked her over.
If you want to help, please label your contributions “Natasha”.

Natasha’s medical history extracts.

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: littlehirosima@gmail.com. Paypal address: littlehirosima@gmail.com

Please label contributions intended for Natasha “Natasha”

Badly Needed: Coal and Firewood

Olya and Lena are single moms. They are both barely surviving.
They lived through the bombing of Lugansk in the city itself, sitting in cellars. Now they live in a place which is scarcely fit to live…
They both await the coming of winter with horror.
During the summer of 2014, Olya was pregnant and already had a three-year-old boy. Her house was badly damaged, only a wing remained where she lives with her two sons. No plumbing, no gas, she heats the shed using wood she collects. It’s hard to collect enough wood, but there are no other options.
The father disappeared already in 2014. He’s unlikely to be among the living.

Younger son Ilya

Only one room is habitable, and that’s the one they heat.

The entryway. You can see how things are from the photos. They really need coal and firewood. They don’t have enough money to keep up with the heating. They barely have enough for food and clothing.


These are Lena’s sons. There is also an older daughter who studies at a college to become a nutritionist.
They all live together in that wing which is better than Olya’s, but still…
Before the war she and her husband rented an apartment. When the fighting began, the husband vanished. Or, rather, simply dumped them. Lena was forced to find whatever place to live she could.
Same situation with heat as with Olya–coal and wood are needed. They all but use furniture for fuel, and this is a big problem for the family.

Vova and Misha

Lena works, but she has to raise three kids alone.
They barely have enough money, with benefits and all. But not enough for firewood during winter. They economize on everything possible. Zhenya said that when he brought food, the kids devoured it with their eyes. It was clear there was nothing at home.
Both families need a total of two tons of coal and a few cubic meters of wood. A ton of coal costs around 4 thousand rubles. Wood is cheaper, about 1500 per meter. Plus delivery costs.
Shall we help Olya and Lena survive this winter?
Yet another winter which is a quest for survival, because they heat with whatever they can find. They freeze, they sleep fully dressed, under ten blankets.
Please label your contributions “firewood”.

Thank you, friends, for your caring!

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: littlehirosima@gmail.com. Paypal address: littlehirosima@gmail.com.

Please label contributions for these families “firewood”.

“Lone Grandmas”

There are great many single grandmothers on the Donbass. One doesn’t want to moralize here, you can do that without me. But it’s a fact–there are many women with children, including with multiple children, abandoned by husbands. And yes, unfortunately, many of these “dads” vanished right in 2014 during the fighting. Of course, these men have their own “truth” which, to be honest, I’m not interested in. They left to get work and then bring family along, but vanished along the way. Or there were disagreements, or he fell in love with someone else.
But there’s also a separate category of women who raise women on their own–grandmothers. Usually they are the parents of fathers or mothers who were raising their own kids, but left this world. So these grandmothers, many of whom are disabled, are left raising their grandchildren. Many of them can’t work anymore, but the kids have to be fed and clothed. That’s how it is.
There are many like that among the people we care for. There’s nobody else to help them. And it’s sad when you see elderly people with very young kids.
Continue reading

Hospital again

Taisiya Ivanovna is once again in hospital.
She was taken there right from the neuro-pathologist’s office, where she was on a routine visit after the stroke. Her right side started to go numb. So she was taken straight from the office to the hospital ward in the midst of an episode. More medications, more tests.
She’ll be there for two weeks, then the doctors will decide. Our Zhenya persuaded the doctor who saved him and Lena in 2016 to look to Taisiya. You remember, I wrote back then the two of them found themselves at the hospital practically at the same time.
We started to help Taisiya and her grandson only recently. Sasha’s mom and Taisiya’s daughter died from a shell fragment which cut open her belly right in front of the boy. She was hit in 2014, but she suffered for two more years with mangled stomach and intestines which the surgeons had to put back together in primitive conditions at the hospital with no electricity.

Continue reading

Back to School!

It’s still summer, but the fall will be upon us soon, which means not only yellow leaves but also school. Which in turn means notebooks, pens, backpacks, and all kids of other stuff kids need. And yes, kids in LPR/DPR also go to school, attend after-school clubs, and they need all that very badly. Maybe even more than our kids.
All of that costs a lot. For many Donbass people, late August and the fall are a difficult time of the year. Because the average monthly salary is 5,000 rubles. Sometimes all these school supplies are an unaffordable luxury. It’s a luxury to buy pen holders and book sleeves…
Have you calculated how much it costs to prepare one school child for September 1?
These children are not simply children. They are children of war. They live in a different reality and for many of them colorful markers, pretty erasers are a source of joy so great that it’s hard to believe in our reality with prosciutto and i-Phones.
So Lena and Zhenya carried out “Operation Y” [a reference to a famous Soviet-era film] to collect school supplies for the people we care for. But unfortunately we were not able to collect enough for all. Especially for those families for whom we are making separate collections and the particularly needy ones–you know them all well.
We really want to help both. Last year we and you were able to collect many school kids for children whose parents are on the registry at the Lugansk Aid Center. These are foster kids, families with many children, single moms, disabled kids.
We want to help as many kids as possible!!!
So I’m calling on you to join in this effort!))) Come on board!
If you do, please label your contributions “school”.
And you must see the photo report on what we’ve bought so far.
Just look at how improbably happy they are!!!
Lena and her parents and kids went shopping and picked out everything. So the boys and girls got to pick the color of their notebooks, backpacks, pencils, paper, everything they needed.
Lenochka, you and Zhenya are totally awesome!!! It’s so good to have you with us! Thank you!

This is Vika and Alyona. It’s so unexpected to see them together on the same photo, after all they’ve never seen one another.

Continue reading

More Aid

When the time comes to write another report on helping this or that Donbass family, I invariably freeze in front of the computer for a long time. The first two hundred such posts were full of my emotions and worries. Then they became repetitive. The emotions and worries. Tolstoy wrote that all happy families are alike, unlike the unhappy ones.
But I came to the conclusion that the range of suffering is not all that wide. There are unbelievably many stories of human suffering, but sometimes when delving into a new one, I catch myself thinking I’ve already heard it somewhere. It happened somewhere else. So how to write about it in a small piece of text without repeating oneself?
Is the pain losing its sharpness? Becoming dulled?
No question about it. It all goes in a circle, and I ever more frequently think about my own grandmothers and grandfathers who survived the war. I ever more frequently hear echoes in my own life of us all being children of war. Grandchildren of war, even though it’s long gone.
From this, the meaning of the Donbass tragedy became for me something that already happened, even though it’s expressed with different words.
But that doesn’t make it easier.

Aleksandra is a single mother of three–Tatyana, Nastya, and Lera. This is one of her daughters.

Continue reading

Thank you

This is another in a series of reports on people who are under our ongoing care.
Thank you everyone who, in spite of the summer and vacations, is continuing to help the people of the Donbass. Sometimes I’m at a loss for words to express my gratitude for your trust and caring. Nearly every time people respond me with letters which ask me not to thank them. Please allow me that.
It’s very pleasant to “give thanks.” To be sure, one may consider “thank you” to be flattery, but I really want to hug you all.
And now about our people.

Lyubov Mikhailovna is the grandmother of Timur and Elisey. No parents–the mom ran off at the beginning of the war and hasn’t been heard from since. They live off grandma’s pension, there’s no other income. She is disabled due to diabetes and blood pressure problems. She can’t get child benefits since the kids officially have a mother.
To read more about this family, click on the Timur and Elisey tag at the bottom of this post.

Continue reading

Vergunka

“Their street happened to be the front line. Militia behind them, and some 500-700m beyond them were the Ukrainian troops who were shooting out of everything they had. The militia came a couple of hours earlier and warned:
–Run, it’s about to begin.
–I have nowhere to go.
–Then to the basement.
–But I have no basement…
I grabbed my daughter by the hand, passport in my pocket, and ran through the bushes to the city. Which was more than 10km away. I saw from the city how Vergunka was burning and exploding.”
Zhenya recently went to help in our name one single mother, Irina from Vergunka, which is a suburb of Lugansk. As you know, the work of aiding the people on the Donbass has been going on even when I’m not there.

Street on which Irina lives

Continue reading