“I see”

–Mom, can Vika be cured?
–No.
–But technology changes. Maybe they’ll find a cure?
–Perhaps.
–Absolutely, I’ll grow up, and Vika will see. I’m sure of it, no doubt about it. Right, mom?
I’m writing a post about our girl. Kids are running around and occasionally look at the computer. And on the screen Vika is laughing in sunglasses. Daughter knows Vika well and tells Sasha:
–That’s Vika. She can’t see. She gave me a bracelet, she made it herself.
The boy started to think.
–Dunya, why can’t she see?
I started to think too. The answer to this question is so complex, and the boy wants simple words so that it would become clear immediately.
–She has diabetes.
That is true. But there is something I didn’t say.
–You go blind from that?
–It can happen, but nowadays people can live with diabetes for a long time if they take proper medications.
–She didn’t?
–You know, Sasha, Vika went blind because of the war?
–She is from the Donbass?
–Yes, Sasha, she’s from the Donbass. She lives there.
Я задумалась. За вопросом стоит такой сложный ответ, а ребенок ведь хочет какие-то простые слова, чтобы сразу всё стало ясно.
– У нее диабет.
Кажется так, да. Но что-то не сказала.
– От него слепнут?
– Такое может случится, но сейчас с диабетом люди могут жить долго, если принимать правильно лекарство.
– Она не принимала?
– Понимаешь Саша, Вика ослепла из-за войны.
– Она из Донбасса?
– Да, Саша. Она с Донбасса. Она там живет.
–I see.


Yes, our Vika is from Donbass, from Lugansk. We’ve been trying to help her for three years. Three years of fighting for her life. But we weren’t able to save her sight. And the diabetes is incurable. Vika lost two front teeth, she has many health problems, but dammit, the girl is alive.

She had TB and it was cured. The pressure within her eye jumps so much that she screams, but Vika takes eyedrops every day and now she laughs. She’s had several hypoglycemic comas but she now goes to the store on her own.
She has a computer for the blind and even a glucose meter which speaks the glucose levels out loud, and which we all provided her with.
You know, I don’t know whether to be happy about what I’m writing. Because I wanted to write something positive but the kids knocked me off that path.
They asked so many questions that I immersed myself again in these three years of struggle. You can read these posts, and there are many, by clicking on the “Vika” tag at the end of this post.


Vika is doing well, as you see. But her life still consists of constant visits to the doctor. Every six months she has to go to the hospital and undergo a course of treatment. We try to buy her everything needed. Sveta, her mom, doesn’t always tell us about family problems. I recently found out by accident they have big problems with water. In the winter they simply do without. Everything freezes, so the pipes rotted out. They have to be replaced but that costs money. There is water only during the warm part of the year. Sveta was embarrassed to tell me about it.
That’s how things are.
But overall, Vika is on the upswing, and that’s the main thing.
She’s mastering the computer, goes out, and laughs.

Thank you, everyone, for your caring, aid, responsiveness!
Vika would not be here if it weren’t for you. Those aren’t empty words. That’s the truth.
Thank you!!!

Medications.

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 Vika “Vika”.

Please read

There are posts which are difficult to write because it’s hard, because no matter how you look at it, it’s pure hopelessness. So immense that it leaves you with a sense of emptiness in which one can hear only the sound of fingers hitting the keyboard. Don’t worry, this is not one of those posts.
Please open it, instead of scrolling past it. Please read it. Because this is why we and our friends got involved in all this in the first place.
It’s a post about you, about hopelessness, and about a miracle.
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“He felt it”

Sasha looks like a hero from Gaidar’s tales. Or perhaps not Gaidar’s, but there is something about him that’s positive and attractive. The pressed lips, the modest but penetrating gaze.
A beautiful boy with a terrible fate.
Sasha lives in Lugansk with his grandmother Taisiya. His mother was wounded by a shell fragment in 2014. They managed to put her entrails back together at the hospital, but she died two years later. He hasn’t seen his father for many years but he has not formally abandoned him and is not about to. Therefore Taisiya cannot obtain any child care benefits. She herself was in a hospital not too long ago following a stroke, with two days in intensive care.


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Anya is walking!

You have to see this!!!
You see the girl on the photo, leaning against a door jamb?
That’s Anya!
That very same Anya who stopped walking during the winter. Her legs could no longer support her so she was able to move only by holding on to stretched-out ropes and stools. “Stress, nerves”–doctors who did not understand what was happening just raised their arms and said many words. But behind all of it there is only one word–“war”.
I wrote about her back in April. Anya is a mother of three who has a loving husband. After an unexpected illness, the family’s entire income went to treat it. But the money was desperately short. And thanks to you, we were able to collect enough for the first round of treatment.

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Ours

Not too long ago, someone put one of my posts on Yandex-Zen and the number of my blog’s views went straight up.
I haven’t seen that since 2014, and that’s very good. And I would like to tell new readers that, in spite of my numerous selfies and Crimea photos, our aid to the people of Donbass is ongoing. We continue to help nearly every day. And thanks to those who participate in it. This is a complex, multi-stage process, linked by many invisible threads.
I don’t know how often I should write about Donbass. I could write reports every day, or once a week. Now I write several times a week, so as not to overload you. And to be honest, it’s hard for me to write more often, I get lost in the thicket of phrases. What’s more, I have written about it so many times that it’s difficult for me to find a new way to tell it, and I feel like a bore.
But, overall, thank you for being with me.
This report-post is about people under our constant care. There have been so many posts about them that I don’t want to become a parrot repeating the same over and over again. Please read about them, there are tags at the bottom of the post pertaining to them. This is assistance to people who find it hard to survive in wartime conditions.

This is our Seryozha. Seryozha, Seryozha, Seryozha…Not a simple story to tell. He now lives in a retirement home in Lugansk. Without a leg, a home, a family, but with polyarthritis…


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Life in the Midst of War

An old friend recently wrote me a letter in which he was upset that, judging by my postings, one would think everything’s going badly in LPR. Because there are positive examples too. I could answer my readers that no, not everything is going badly. There are families whose affairs are in principle going well. Moreover, I would say there are people, everywhere, of a kind capable of surviving in any situation. And not only survive but find work or ways to make money even where it’s impossible. It’s as if they are literally a tank, they can fight to the end. But there aren’t so many of them. Since I mainly write about those who need help, my reports don’t include many positive examples. Not because they don’t exist, but because we help those who can’t help themselves. People with problems or in dire straits. Illness, loss of house, wounds. It’s single elderly, single moms with many kids, disabled.
And here’s what I wanted to say. If one were to work as an investigator, with time one starts thinking everyone around is a criminal. It’s a point of reference, a vantage point which influences one’s perception of the situation and the world as a whole. So it’s important to preserve clarity. I don’t know whether I have such clarity. What I see in LPR is, in most cases, sadness. It’s a region in a state of uncertainty where it’s nearly impossible to exist and improve one’s situation. The Republics are not recognized, formally they don’t exist, nearly all the economic ties have been interrupted, and yes, there’s fighting. People are getting by. But its possible my pessimism has to do with my vantage point, not objectivity. I don’t know.
But from what I see in shops, on the streets, and all the institutions I visit, people are for the most part surviving. Many (though not all, of course), those who could, left. I see heroic doctors, emergency first responders, utilities workers, who helped ordinary people under a rain of rockets. I see many genuine people, People with a capital P. But most of them are struggling. They have poverty wages, it’s hard to find work, and the prices in shops are like everywhere else. Many survive thanks to gardens and relatives. Possibly this is my own vantage point. Because barber shops, beauty salons, supermarkets where there are dozens of sausage brands and red fish keep on working. Sushi bars and restaurants are opening up, which apparently have a clientele? So there are consumers.

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Not for nought

When I graduated from college, I went to work for a PR agency. , I remember myself swimming in a pool, after a month of endless press releases, press clippings, and press kits, and thinking–what’s the point? What’s the outcome? The answer upset me. It’s possible I poorly chose the way to apply myself and had I chosen something other than PR I’d have found myself. But it was what it was.
Back then, under a thick layer of chlorinated water, I thought about how much I wanted to go somewhere as a volunteer, so that my efforts would be useful and lead me to believe I do not live for nought. Volunteer at an orphanage, a retirement home, a hospice. Of course, I had no idea what these places were like, and that in reality helping there is an unbelievably difficult endeavor. Although perhaps I realized what the reality was like, because I did not advance beyond thinking about it. Even today I can say I’m not quite up to it. But by paths unknown, without even wishing it, I became a leader (is there a more correct way of stating it?) of a tiny unofficial welfare fund for aiding the people of the Donbass. There are many of us and the main people in this process are our Lugansk Zhenya and Lena. It’s also my many helpers and friends here, in Moscow, other cities, and other countries. I don’t fully know the scale of work we’ve done. I only see what’s happening today and write about it. We got ourselves into various situations, sometimes got experienced disappointment, bitterness. A lot happened–some of that you’ve read about and experienced with us. But there are several people whom we help on a permanent basis, people who have become flags, markers.

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Natasha

Every paragraph of this post is saturated with facts which one can’t wrap one’s head around. It’s some kind of cold horror. I can’t believe why things turn out that way, with some people suffering so much pain, suffering, and desperation that it’s nearly impossible to believe.
Natasha has had epilepsy her entire life. She had almost no fits before the war, but after 2014 they became constant. Natasha used to work at the post office but was asked to leave after the first fit. Then things got worse. She’d get fired at ever next workplace after the first fit. No labor contracts help. Because they don’t exist, as there are few jobs and plenty of workers. The employer does not need someone disabled. But Natasha is a single mom, who needs to feed not only herself but also her disabled mom and two kids.


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The Last Chance

–Ira told me that there are people who help terminal cancer patients without any compensation. She gave me your number. I tried to take care of it myself but wasn’t able to.
We are in shock–Ira, our Ira, died in the Spring. This young and lovely girl with two small children passed away after a long struggle with cancer. We tried to help her in every way we could. But we did not succeed. We provided nearly everything she needed, including chemo preparations, but the cancer was stronger. Or maybe it was simply the war, which leaves people like Ira no chance of survival.
Overcoming such a disease under such stress…I know that if it weren’t for the war, Ira would have lived. I sense that. Only those who were in Lugansk understand what they lived through during the spring and summer of ’14. In the city that was being destroyed from all manner of weapons, including aircraft. I saw similar things in the besieged Pervomaysk in December 2014, and even though I was there only for a short time, I still haven’t gotten over it. But they lived there for months on end…
(To read more about Ira, click on the “Ira” tag at the end of the post)
The woman who called us is Sveta. She’s from Lugansk region, but lives in the Ukraine-occupied part. Not LPR. Her stepfather has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and a cyst on a kidney. He was throwing up for three days, and then he was told in the Lisichansk hospital he needs surgery, but there are neither medications nor surgeons available. He was advised to go to Lugansk, LPR. It as a program of “free assistance to compatriots”. Keep in mind, this program has existed for a long time, it treats EVERYONE who has a Ukrainian passport. FOR FREE. Yes, they lack certain types of preparations, instruments, but it’s FREE, and for many it’s salvation and the last chance. Therefore the Lugansk hospital’s cancer ward has a long waiting list.


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Discharged

Seryozha had a heart attack in May.
He’s been taking many preparations due to his progressing polyarthritis which, unfortunately, also affect his heart.
I wouldn’t say his mood is combative. He even wrote, asking when I’m coming: “will I ever see you again?”
The doctors prescribed a whole range of medications which he’ll have to take for the rest of his life.
His retirement home can only partly fill these needs, and even then with poor substitutes.


We’ve been taking care of Seryozha since the spring of 2015. I don’t like that phrase, though, all the more since Seryozha has become very close to us. But I don’t even know how else to phrase it.
Seryozha lost his home in Khryashchevatoye due to the shelling in the summer of 2014, and then also his leg due to the trauma and illness that he’s had for a long time.
He now lives in a retirement home in Lugansk.
To read more about Seryozha, click on the “Kutsenko” tag at the bottom of this post.

And now he’ll need these medications regularly.
Please label any contributions intended for Seryozha “Kutsenko”.

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.