At this moment, only 4 people work in our volunteer assistance project. 2 of them are IDPs. And each of them, in addition to working on the project, is also involved in volunteering.
We are starting a series of short stories about these people.
Stories of small people.
Part 1, Vasylyna.
Vasylyna is 21 years old. Currently, she lives and works in Lviv, in the YMCA Lviv project as a social worker. Until February 27, she lived and worked in Kyiv. The beginning of the war for her is – the night, incomprehensible sounds outside the window and her husband’s voice: “Vasya, wake up! It’s War.”
For the first few days, they stayed in the city – first they were hiding in the corridor from the shelling, then went down to the subway. After that, they could no longer get home: in the morning the possibility of a nuclear attack was announced and the subway doors were sealed. It became possible to get out only a few hours later, by going to the central railway station with a subway train. There, Vasylyna and her husband decided to go from Kyiv to relatives in Kropyvnytskyi, but the trains were no longer running according to schedule.
Crowd, panic, stampede. Vasya and her husband were able to get on the sole evacuation train that was going that day: they didn’t even know where they were going.
That’s how Vasylyna got to Lviv.
As soon as Vasylyna came to her senses, she started volunteering. Sitting still and doing nothing seemed unthinkable.
Vasya says that her friends have repeatedly advised her to run from the war abroad, but she has only one answer to this:
“How can I leave my husband?”
For half a year, Vasylyna and her husband were engaged only in volunteering. Volunteering in Ukraine is a 24/7 job that never ends. Even taking a day off is psychologically difficult. When you volunteer here, you always know that while you are resting, someone else is in dire need of your help.
– Vasya, why didn’t you give it all up and just go to work, didn’t you try to return your life to the way it was before the war?
– I do not know.
– How would you answer this question to yourself?
– To myself… When you understand that your mother is sitting with your brother and stepfather in Sumy, and you understand that a 14-year-old child has to watch from the window as russian tanks drive down the central street, as they shoot at houses and people, and he has to run to some school, sit there in the gym in the cold, without food just because some bastards decided to come to your country… When your mom and brother barely manage to squeeze into a train car to get to safety… You know, that they saw, how russian tanks deployed and shot at people, and meanwhile I did not know what was happening to them. They traveled to Lviv for two days to find themselves in a place where at least paratroopers don’t run around the streets. When they arrived here, they asked: “Can we buy toothpaste here? And soap? We didn’t have that… God, it’s so good here. It was so scary there!”
When you realize that the classmate of yours died – the boy of your age, and it happened only because someone decided that he had the right to come with weapons to a foreign country because this country supposedly “historically belongs” to russia. What do people die for, what are they guilty of, they were just living their lives?
Why should our grandparents sit and fear bombardment, not being able to go to the doctor because of the constant missile threats?
What did the people who could not leave the occupied territories do to deserve to sit in destroyed by russian soldiers buildings without heat, light, hygiene products and normal food? Why do people have to throw away their whole lives: houses, family photos, favorite dishes given to them by their mother, children’s toys, everything they love, their whole lives, to go into the unknown? For what?
Why do I have to constantly worry that the Zaporizhzhia NPP will blow up and my family in Kropyvnytskyi (father, grandmothers and grandfathers) will die? If that happens, I will never go home. I will no longer have a family.
What did all the children do to deserve all of this? What are they guilty of? What was the fault of the 9-year-old boy who turned gray after his mother was raped and killed in front of him?
I have an extra 20 hryvnias (0.5 dollars) – I will drop it on the drone. I have the strength – I will go and drag the boxes with the humanitarian aid myself and send it to those who need it.
Vasya asks herself:
What will happen if I just sit, or just live like I was living? What will happen if I do nothing? What will happen if everyone decides that they are tired, enough is enough, and will do nothing? What will happen to all of us?
I can’t imagine sitting down and doing nothing. Because if nothing is done, our country will disappear. All of us will disappear.
But we won’t let that happen.