I am a mother of three boys. My eldest son was seven years old when the war started in 2015, my middle one was five years old, and my youngest son was two years old.
We were woken up in the morning by terrible explosions. The balcony door seemed to be being pushed out by an explosive wave. We saw the shells exploding from the bedroom window. I was scared and panicked.
My husband didn't go to work, so we started going to the basement. The children were sitting in the bathroom. We didn't know what to take to the basement or how to stay there in the dirt. We put things, food, toys, medicines in the bag and ran. There were already many people and children there. All the people were scared. I knew we weren't going home until it calmed down. So we began to settle in: my husband brought old chairs and a small table from home so that the children could draw and distract themselves from the explosions.
At four o'clock in the afternoon, a shell exploded right next to the basement. The men were smoking outside. Everyone rushed into the house. Our candle went out, and it was quite dark. I began to call the children and take them also into the house, someone grabbed and started pushing my youngest son's stroller (he was with me).
My husband brought blankets and we laid them on the ground. It was very crowded, a lot of people. Some people were sleeping on chairs. At night we were woken up by terrible explosions.
On this day, shrapnel from a shell flew into our apartment from the bedroom and broke all the windows, damaged some things. It's a good thing we weren't there.
On this day, people began to leave, if they had somewhere to go. We had nowhere to go, we had little money, so we began to settle down further. My father-in-law brought an old feather bed from the garage. My mother-in-law brought soup and tea. The people in the basement were kind and helpful. Everyone shared food and offered boiled water. No one was arguing.
The children were bored and scared. It was very dusty.
When there were strong explosions, we clung to each other. Once I was so scared that I asked the men for vodka, added juice and drank it. I felt better. It didn't help the next time. The sedative didn't help either, it was just very scary.
At night, the younger son began to cry a lot. We thought it was a tummy ache, but it turned out to be a fright, because after the basement, he cried at night for another two months.
My mother – in-law brought food-she didn't live in the basement. My husband went to the pharmacy and store. We went out on the threshold of the basement to get some air, look at the sun. We began to get used to the basement, and it was hard to believe that we lived in an apartment, walked around the village and there was peace.
Reporters came and asked: who do we think is shooting?
My friend called me, she found a house for us in the Odessa region and called us to come.
We were given a free bus that went from the center. But how to get there with children and things?
We move to another basement, closer to the center. This basement is cold and damp, but there is electricity. We put blankets on the boards and make a bed. This night, the youngest son has a high temperature.
At 12 o'clock in the afternoon, we ran to the bus, it was full and it was already leaving, but it took us. People were scared, crying, praying.
Hurray! We safely got to Donetsk. We were waiting there for two days and go to Kharkiv. In Kharkiv, at the railway station, volunteers provided us with food and overnight accommodation.
We are going to Odessa.
We find ourselves in a house that was given to us by the Bazarian village council. The old people were given pillows, blankets, dishes. The house is very cold, minus 12°. Children like it.
The eldest son was registered for school in the 2nd grade, the youngest-in kindergarten. People help with food, clothing, and toys. At the end of February, my youngest son and I go to the hospital – he has pneumonia.
The house is cold. I miss Myronivka very much. I can't call my parents in Chernukhino, I don't know if they are alive. Children are constantly ill. The water is very salty.
Nature awakens, the birds are singing, but it is not mine. I really want to go home. Children are constantly ill.
The eldest son graduated from the 2nd grade. My husband and mother-in-law came to visit.
The middle son was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.
The younger son was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. I make the decision to leave. The Sviatogorska Lavra accepts refugees.
We are going to Sviatogorsk.
We live in the Sviatogorska Lavra. It is good here, many friends, our nature and it is close to Myronivka. But it's still a scary ride.
I have to go to work – and we're going home. We are very happy, but scared.
We've been living at home for two years. Of course, sometimes it was scary, but I don't want to go anywhere.