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Stories that you confided to us

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Maryna Baban

‘We slept under the beds together with the kids – dressed and with shoes put on, all in one room without windows’

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We stayed in the cellar day and night. We could stay there two hours and three hours. The youngest kid is a disabled child. We also had our old grandmother with us, who died. She did not go down there [to the cellar] because she did not have strength to go there. She stayed in the house.

‘We slept under the beds together with the kids – dressed and with shoes put on, all in one room without windows’

There was no telephone connection. We could not make a call. And we did not go out of there. We took some food and some water there with us. We also took a bucket and a spade, just in case. We took everything we could or needed. The kids even stayed there for the night. I have a small baby so I had to go out, while other three kids slept there with their father till the morning. I went out because the baby needed some daylight. She needed some movement. She could no longer stay there.

It was fear, a sheer fear that we could die. Then, later, we did not go to the cellar, but stayed in the house, in one room where there are no windows. We all slept in the bed-room under the beds. We slept dressed and with shoes on. We collected some shell fragments. We still have them now. Kids did not go to school then. They stayed in the cellars because it was scary.

Now, it has become quieter, for sure, but no one knows what will be next. Where shall we hide? We cannot really make repairs because there is no permanence, no stability in anything. We are still in fear. Even now we live in fear because we are afraid that something could start again.

Our hardships are about food and money. People face shortage, as well as we do. It is all expensive and the money we get is not enough for food. We are grateful that we receive some aid, including some household detergents, some food, food packages. If we buy some clothes, it means there will be shortage of some food items. There is a problem with coal – it is expensive to buy it. Well, what shall we do? We have to live on still. We rather subsist, but we keep on living.

There was no electricity. Then we stayed without water and went to the water well that was very far. We stoked the stove. The food got spoiled because the fridge did not work obviously.

Many people left. People who lived opposite to us left and they left their house. There is nothing there, just a pile of trash. Everything was overgrown with weeds. Many people moved out, left their apartments. And where shall we go? We could leave, but our relatives are very far from here. It is a five-day travel and [there is no] money. Where to get the money for the trip? Who needs us without money? Where to get the money from? We are a family of six persons. Moreover, we had an old grandmother with us. We can say that we have nowhere to go.

Our youngest daughter is quite an active kid. She laughs and plays. She understands everything. The only thing is she has a delay with her speaking ability. She can show a dog. If I tell her “a car”, she knows that it is “vroom-vroom”. She can show a cat. Or I can tell her to bring her sandals and she brings them. She understands it when I say “let us go to eat”. She comes.

‘We slept under the beds together with the kids – dressed and with shoes put on, all in one room without windows’

The kids are with me. The most important thing is that they are with me, and are safe and sound. We set ourselves up for the better, that everything will be fine. Something has to change for the better anyway, right?

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
Toshkovka 2016 Video Civilian's stories women children 2016 shelling
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