Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Olha Podobra

“Mother, the tanks will come and crush us”

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Before it all started, and even during the fighting, we still tried to go to work. We were isolated from Luhansk. Thus, all the work remained on the other side. We still tried to do whatever we could here. Those who managed to plant some vegetables had a chance to survive. But others…

The braver people tried to pull through. We just waited for peace to come in the autumn. But it didn't. It didn't come. And we waited…

It didn’t really care for myself. I was terrified for my children. Artem was constantly hysterical, "Mom, now the tanks will arrive, they will crush us. A shell is coming." It was just very scary to understand that children (under three years of age) would wake up at night from a shell explosion, pull the mattress off the crib and lie down next to the bed or under the bed. They knew it was safer on the floor.

When the attacks seemed to be happening nearby, I had to teach them what to do to stay safe. They were forbidden to go out into the garden for six months, because they would not have time to get out of there, and we would not have time to hide them.

We don't even have basic medicines right now. We are afraid that the child might catch a cold, and we won't be able to take him to the hospital. We don't have a hospital here. Medicine is impossible to get, impossible at all. So, the only solution is to go to the pharmacy if you have any money. We buy all necessary medicines at once. Just in case. There's no point going to the hospital.

I gave birth to twins in 2014. In May, they started shooting for the first time. The first attacks were very horrible. The girl can't eat lactose. Her body rejects it. The child ate porridge just on water. Because it was impossible to get a baby formula at all. It was simply impossible. We couldn’t pass the checkpoints. We would have to order it on the Internet. Nova Poshta does not work here. It was impossible to order on the Internet, because it was cut off. So we had no place to get it from.

The child was about to go to school. I travelled all over Stanytsia Luhanska District in order to find what I needed for school. The choice was very poor. Just look at this bag. It is too big for a six-year-old child. I looked everywhere. We needed to but some shoes, clothes, but it seemed impossible.

Now we live only on social benefits or humanitarian aid. There is no work anywhere. People used to have greenhouses, at least. Now it is impossible to get work. People stopped working in greenhouses, because it is not profitable – no one buys anything. There is no place to sell. Luhansk is closed, Sievierodonetsk is not an option, too.

All I know is that if we don’t receive social payments, humanitarian aid or pensions, we will have no life at all. People will just start starving again, like they did in 2014. No one would be able to pay for electricity or gas. They would not be able to do anything if there was no humanitarian aid. Then we would have to buy all these food packages, which also cost a lot, in fact, so to speak. Accordingly, the money that is already being spent on paying for gas or electricity, or buying firewood, would have already been spent on food.

Now I have started to get some food from the farmsteads. In 2014, they were closed down. They were neglected, because people just feared to do anything. The village seemed extinct. And now people have started working on the ground again. Now you can buy some milk, cottage cheese or something else. Back then, all the stores were closed. So money were of no use.

We are afraid that it would start again. We are afraid we might get hurt again. It's scary and there's nowhere to hide.

When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:

The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Stanytsia Luhanska 2014 2016 Text Civilian's stories women children psychological injury Job
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