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Stories that you confided to us

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Oleksandra and Oleksii Vodko
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“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs"

Because of the fighting, the Vodko family cannot return home to Marinka. They left their home in 2014. Оlexandra calls those days the most terrible in her life. Due to the war, my husband lost his job. Sometimes a family doesn't have the money to buy food. Lack of money forced them to settle in a hostel for migrants in Kurakhovе. They thought they were leaving for two weeks, but years have passed.

Дітей закриваєш. Ковдру дитячу хапаєш. Діти були в майках і трусиках. Обох схопила ось так і вибігла швидше до машини.

Oleksii Vodko:

So, the neighbours called us and told us that a shell fell directly into the house. We were not allowed to go in in the evening, because there was a checkpoint between Marinka and Heorhiivka. We had to leave the car and come on foot. We estimated the damage and tried to clean up a bit. It was very hard to look at it.     

“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs

The garage, shed and cellar were damaged. A lot of property pieces burned out completely. All the canned food was destroyed. The internal walls of the house were destroyed. The wall from the kitchen from the neighbors cracked and deviated. The roof is completely destroyed. There are still fragments of broken glass. The house still stands, but you never know it will collapse.

“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs

Oleksandra Vodko:

It was a normal day. We were sitting on a couch. We were lying down, and the kids were playing around The light went out. It started on 11 July. No one expected this. We didn't understand what happened at first. My husband went outside. We looked-up and saw some sparkling light coming towards us. We ran out in panic, in fear. We didn't even have time to change clothes and left Marinka.

We didn't know where we were going. This is the only place we're sheltering in right now. Kurakhove City Executive Committee took us very well. They gave us a room here.

“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs

Words can't convey this feeling of panic we felt at that time. In the moment like this you can't control yourself, you don't know what to do. I mean, we didn't know if we should grab things, or just take the kids and run. I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs.

We had to cover the children. We grabbed a baby blanket. The children were wearing T-shirts and panties. I grabbed both of them like this and ran fast to the car.

It's a blessing that we have a car. It was a present from our parents. So I grabbed the children like this. They were wearing slippers. The only goal I had was to save the children. Nothing else mattered.

“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs

We took the children and left. We had nowhere to go, though. We had no relatives, no one. We just left. It seemed quiet here, we felt peaceful. This is a piece of land that is not affected by the people we have suffered from.

We got this empty room. There was nothing in it but wallpaperr. Some caring people brought us cupboards, beds, tables. We had to ask some people we knew to bring us things they didn't need.

Well, we did manage to get some basic things for own children so that they had somewhere to sleep and to eat on. You know, every little bit helps.

“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs

We really want to go home. We want to go back to his house, I want to come back to our land. This is, overall, we know that any area that is Ukrainian can be called home, but we would really like to go to Marinka.

Kurakhove is unidentified for me. I have never been to this city before. The war pushed me here. I was born and raised in Marinka, and I really want to go back there.

We come to Marinka just to see how the house is, whether something was stolen or damaged there. The children cry and ask to stay. I feel like crying as well, because I really want to stay there.

The Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center helped us a lot, because they sent us the diapers we so required. He really helps a lot of people.

I'm from a boarding school, I studied at the first boarding school in Donetsk. He helped this place a lot. I have known him since childhood. He is a Real Man. He has supported us greatly.

Oleksii Vodko:

We worried for the children the most. Where will they sleep? What will they eat? Will they have clothes to wear? Will they be healthy or ill?

“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs

I worked as a driver in a wholesale flower company in Donetsk. I am currently unemployed. I don't get my internal refugee money.

I went to Kurakhove and asked if there was a job for me. They said, "I'm sorry, due to the situation that has occurred, there are a lot of people, and we can't give jobs to everyone." People became so angry.

I didn't just work as a driver. I had some life experience. I did some cars, scooters, and home appliances repairs. I take on small things. If someone, mostly old people, needs some help, they come to me. So I do gardening or paint things. I do it not even for money but even for food. A bottle of milk is great. The children appreciate this. We can bear it, but we are just worried about the children.

I don't see any stability yet, but I really want to go back to my home. I was going to make a greenhouse in my yard, a huge playground, a small pool with a fountain. We had some plans. But they all remained as drawings on the computer.

“I grabbed the children. Where to run? Everywhere it falls, everywhere it bombs

However, I hope for the best. I hope that peace will come, and we will be able to turn our dreams into life. We will be happy then. The child is five years old. He is about to start school.

Child:

Grandma prepared all sorts of things there.

Oleksii Vodko:

Now we don't even know if we will be able to go to school. All the relatives and acquaintances in Marinka waited and invited us, "We will wait for your children, we will be happy to have them here. They can go to school here." Everything will be alright. We will grow and learn. We will grow up  smart. We just have to wait for a bit. Dad's going to make a swing for you there.

 Child:

Where?

Oleksii Vodko:

We can plant some flowers here, in Marinka. Remember, you asked for a huge playground? Remember? And then we'll go fishing with my grandfather. You're my sweetheart. So we just endeavor for the children's sake.

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