“Where are we to run to?”

Ira was pregnant when Lugansk was being wiped out. She is from the long-suffering Vergunka which is still on the “separation” line. When she realized she can’t stay home, she took her daughter and went to Lugansk to “wait it out”. There was no place else to go.
It was too late to leave the region, the husband was nowhere to be seen–and still isn’t.
Ira says that she wrote to her daughter a couple of times through social media. That’s all.
Indeed, why bother? He’s got a new life, without children and destroyed homes, where fighting can start again at any moment.
Ira then went to Lugansk, and when she returned the home half-destroyed. The roof and walls collapsed, all windows were broken. The house itself was thoroughly looted, down to forks and rugs. .
Please forgive me this preamble–I wrote about this woman many times. But maybe she was forgotten, and others have not read about her. So one has to periodically remind. We met Ira by accident–we were bringing aid to the neighbors.
Since the we’ve been helping her too, though Ira herself never calls to say what her problems are. Thanks to you, we’ve managed to fix up the house, get a boiler, buy clothes, dishes, food, medications.
Ira’s situation remains hard–she’s alone with the children. Many health problems.
And most importantly, they are still shooting there. Their house is on the very edge of Ukrainian advance. No cellar.
Do you know what Vika, her daughter, said after one of the bombardments?
“Mom, relax. Where are we to run to? What happens, happens.”

Our People

Stop–don’t walk away from the screen!
We have good news and we want very much to tell you about some good people.
There is one family whom we’ve been helping for a long time.
Tiny family: grandmother and grand-daughter. That’s it.
The mother died in front of the girl in August ’14. It was an instant death, caused by shrapnel to the head. Natasha, the girl, didn’t say a word for a week, then stuttered for a year. Now the two live together. The girl has grown. Their lives are difficult.
I wrote about them in February, we collected money to fix up their water boiler and did fix it up.
But new problems appeared. The boiler broke down. Then we found another one.
Zhenya tells us: “When the new welder realized Natasha’s mom died and learned they live on grandma’s pension, he refused payment. ‘I also was under fire and saw how people lost their close ones. I have work, I can help, too.’
He worked without a break for 8 hours on his day off…”
It was an old, used boiler, but it was not used since the time it was bought. It was kept as a spare since 1989. So now our Natasha and Elena Vladimirovna are so warm that they can walk around in t-shirts at home. Before then, they had to sleep fully dressed under 1- blankets.
It’s a coal-fueled boiler, for which we bought coal to last until the end of the year.

Elya

The photo shows Albina who, with her younger sister Elya lives with her mother but without father in Lugansk.
Elya was born during Spring ’14, that very same spring. The girl has a problem with the jugular vein, the actual diagnosis is below, on the medical history extract. She constantly loses consciousness, has nosebleeds. The girl needs treatment. We are currently trying to figure out what options are available in Russia. There are no relevant specialists in LPR (
In theory, it is possible she’ll outgrow it.
But the problem does exist, and the mother currently has no money for the necessary evaluations which these days can be done only for money.
The mother, Anastasia, works as a nurse, with tiny salary.

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We have news

Remember Valera from Lugansk? The boy who, together with his brother, was abandoned by the mother who then disappeared?
The younger boy was taken to an orphanage, the older one has tried to survive on his own. We’ve been helping him since early fall. Food, clothes, money.
Remember?
Well, we have news.
Lena and Zhenya recently got ready to visit him, but his phone would just ring and ring. When they came, the apartment was locked. So they got in touch with his case workers.
Here’s where things stand.
The mother turned up, took the younger son from the orphanage, picked up Valera, and literally in one week they all left.


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Great-Grandmother

This is Galina Grigoryevna and her great-grandson Seryozha.
Great-grandson!
Just think about it. She is raising him.
His mother, her daughter, died in the fall.
Zhenya writes after a visit, delivering aid:
“Yulya died in November, five days short of Seryozha’s birthday. Her state worsened: fever, high blood pressure. Ambulance took her. A month of IVs, injections–things got better. Fever went away, blood pressure stabilized. She was discharged. Came home, in the morning things got worse. Ambulance came, gave her shots. She got better but still felt weak. In the evening she asked for some soup. Galina Grigoryevna cooked it, Yulya ate it with pleasure and…died. Her heart stopped. They didn’t even have time to call the emergency number. Three children were left behind…” The boy’s father died of kidney failure in 2012.
Seryozha is the same age as my daughter. His mother was a little older than me. Still very young.
How many such young people had passed away, due to heart attacks, strokes, other crises? And then the grandmothers have to pull the grandchildren along. How many such stories have you read here?
Is it hard to read? Hard to accept?
The grandmothers are doing everything within their power to prevent the kids from going to a shelter. To keep them home. With relatives.
Great-grandmothers, dear Lord!


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“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.
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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.

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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.

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