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Stories that you confided to us

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Maya Tkachenko

‘We lived in the cellar for one month. It is unbearable’

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We came from Slavne to Novomykhailivka in October 2014 because there was a very heavy shellfire. We lived in the cellar for a month or a month and a half. It was unbearable to be in that cellar.

Firstly, it was a rainy period and it was cold. The kids started to pee in their beds because they caught a cold. We had nothing to cook on. We ran out of gas that we had in stock. We cooked on open fire near the cellar. The cellar is small and it was leaking. We had to leave.

We didn’t know where we were going. We had a Moskvych [old Soviet time car] car. It was an old one, but still running. We went to my sister who had left before us. We stayed there for one week. Then, a friend invited me to Novomykhailivka. We lived in summer kitchen in her yard for two months.

Then we found a small house. It was cold. The kitchen was in the yard. We lived in the kitchen for two years and then the owners sold this house. We had to find ourselves another house. Well, we live here until spring.

We live in rented houses because we need to be taking the kids to school here. There is no other option. We won’t be able to go seven kilometres by foot. To go by bicycle is not an option either. We don’t have our own transport. We used to have our old Moskvych car, but we sold it.

‘We lived in the cellar for one month. It is unbearable’

We think of looking for a house here. I hope we will manage to find something here by spring time. There are many such houses that cannot be restored. We would need money to be able to repair the roofs and the doors. There are even houses without the flooring here.

What do we have there in Slavne? A shell landed behind our house. Shell fragments hit the shed and it collapsed. The roof of the house was partly damaged. The ceilings in the rooms of the house fell down. The windows were blown out. We then installed the windows because snow gets inside the house in winter. The door is in a very bad shape. We could repair it, but what to make it from? The fences were smashed. In short, there is nothing good there.

Here we have only a sofa and a fridge that belong to us. While back there, everything was stolen, everything that could be stolen. Only the bath-tub remained. Although, I don’t know, maybe it is no longer there.

The war affected us very much. Firstly, the stress. Secondly, family quarrels. There are quarrels in any family. It is difficult, of course. Before the war, we used to work in our village. There were jobs at the farm. My partner used to work. He was a driver of a school bus. He also used to work as a combine operator and as a tractor driver. We used to keep some livestock.

And then, when Maya started to go to school, hostilities began and that’s it. We have to live in rented houses,to roam from place to place at they say. Life is difficult. There are no jobs.

We are very thankful to Rinat Akhmetov. He has been helping a lot from the very beginning. We get flour, oil and sugar. He provides what is most needed. For me personally, for my family, he helps a lot with this. I am very thankful to him. I am thankful for the sweets for the New Year – the kids are happy.

The most difficult period was in 2014, when we left home. And now... One year passed more or less fine for us because everything was good with the housing. We somehow did not worry too much. While this year it is very difficult with the housing. You just don’t know where to go, where to dash to, where to find a house. A house is the problem. My partner is worried too. And I am very worried about it.

There аre always difficulties about the school. Difficulties with finances. We live only on some children’s social allowance, on social payments for IDPs. We are in need for housing.

There is only one dream that is to see the hostilities end soon. Somehow to restore the house, to have a bus or some kind of a mini-bus to be able to take the children to school. And I really want to come back home. It is better at home.

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 https://civilvoicesmuseum.org/

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Slavnoe 2014 Video Civilian's stories women children moving destroyed or damaged housing psychological injury shelling safety and life support education health children nutrition housing poor
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