Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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views: 473
Maryna Ponomarenko
age: 39
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"When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home»

The worst thing about war is that people are dying - both civilians and our military. Life is priceless, it cannot be returned, it cannot change the destoyed destinies. Everything else is profited from, and sometimes even doubled.

As a child, I wondered why postcards have peace inscriptions is them. All wars were so long ago. We lived in times of peace and nothing bad would ever happen to us. I was so wrong.

I was born in 1981 in Luhansk, where I lived with my husband and daughter until July 2014. At that time, I worked as a chief safety engineer in Luhansk Energy Association LLC, my husband was an IT Division head in Vostochnye Resursy LLC, and my daughter was finishing primary school.

When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home

We were happy with everything in life, and we were not intending to change our place of residence or life in general. The decision was made for us. And now we live in Kyiv.

War as a birthday present

How did it happen? As a child, I wondered why postcards have peace inscriptions is them. All wars were so long ago. We lived in times of peace and nothing bad would ever happen to us. I was so wrong.

Friends, acquaintances, neighbours, colleagues, and even relatives were divided into two opposing forces. I was lucky – most of my friends rooted for Luhansk as part of Ukraine. That is why, we were optimistic and hopeful at that moment.

When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home

For the first time, we encounted war on 2 June 2014. It was my birthday when our border guards, which were located on the outskirts of the southern districts, and militants started shooting.

We followed the news and waited for help to come, but they were forced to give up.

More and more explosions and gunfire were heard ever since. In mid-June, military equipment from Russia brought, but even then we did not believe that this was the beginning of the war. The situation escalated, the attacks intensified.

In early July, Poltavaoblenergo offered to take our children to their children's camp for an indefinite period and completely free of charge. There was nowhere to go, we had to take our their daughter and niece and leave. We packed our bags and prepared our necessary documentation in one day.

When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home

On the day we were about to leave, we heard heavy shelling. Grad shells flew over our house for the first time, some streets in the city were blocked in the evening, and my father was looking for ways to get us to the station. I didn't know then that I wasn't going home.

On 7 July, we were met by Poltava power engineers, for which we are forever grateful. The children were sent to a summer camp. I was supposed to return to Luhansk on the same day, but my husband called and said that the shelling attacks were intensifying, and forbade me to return.

When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home

I stayed in Poltava and changed my tickets twice in the hope of returning home. I was filled with a sense of confusion and uncertainty. There in Poltava was the first time I felt ashamed of my Luhansk registration, and every time someone asked me where I was from, I wanted to avoid the answer. That feeling when your fault is not in the current situation, but it is you who feels ashamed.

"I lived as in a fog"

All this time my friends from Kyiv invited me and advised against returning home. They persuaded me. And so I arrived in Kyiv on 13 July with a half-empty backpack (I took my things with me for one day). I spent the rest of the summer in the shadow of events, thinking about Donbass and worrying about my loved ones. Material gains recede into the background in such moments.

In August, there was a time when I lived here in Kyiv for two weeks, but it was as in a fog, because telephone connections with Luhansk was lost. I did not know if my parents were alive. I would start my day at five in the morning, sometimes earlier, by viewing the news and the shelling map of Luhansk.

Fortunately, everything worked out well, everyone is alive, and it was a miracle, because the family had to survive without electricity, water and communications. The city suffered from fires and constant explosions. All the remaining people hid in the basements of an apartment buildings during the attacks, cooked food over a fire when the situation settled for a while.

When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home

My husband arrived in Kyiv in August on the next to the last Luhansk-Kyiv train and brought some things. When I asked him why he did not bring warm clothes, he replied, "I hope we will return home soon."

It was as if you had been plucked from the garden like a plant and left like a weed on the road to survive, because we had lost everything we had in an instant. But we managed. We decided to look for work and housing. But we had the "Luhansk registration" mark on us, the owners of apartments did not particularly want to rent housing to people like us. They would just hung up. It was quite a quest. And the 'bridge-and-tunnel crowd' from Donbass was quite a big.

Still, we managed to rent the apartment. They took my daughter from Poltava. We transfered her at the nearest school. But we needed to buy all the clothes, shoes, and school supplies. Volunteer organizations helped at that time. They provided us with everything necessary for school.

It wasn't easy for everyone, not just us. My friends and I, who, like us, were fleeing the war, helped each other as much as we could. The war has brought us closer together.

The employment market dropped, employers also took advantage of the current situation. They cut wages and did not particularly want to hire us, because there was no confidence in how long we would live here and, thus, work.

When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home

Only Kyivenergo did not pay attention to registration, and it was nice to get a chance to find employment. Perhaps the energy industry does not leave people in the lurch. Thus, since 6 October 6, 2014,¬I am one of the DTEK employees.

Destroyed destinies

Life was divided into 'before and after the war.' It will be six years of our 'after' life in the summer.

When I was leaving, I never thought that I would not be able to return home

The worst thing about war is that people are dying - both civilians and our military. Life is priceless, it cannot be returned, it cannot change the destoyed destinies. Everything else is profited from, and sometimes even doubled.

I wish peace would finally come in Ukraine and that everyone was alive. I also dream of being able to move my parents closer to us, because it is already difficult for them to overcome the distance and checkpoint to meet us.

Value lies in the people around us, in our family, friends, and colleagues. It is in understanding and supporting each other. War is a test of strength and humanity.

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