I am from Lyadova in Vinnytsia Oblast, near the Moldovan border, but I moved to a suburb of Kyiv with my daughter, Olga (46), and granddaughter Anastasiia (15), four years ago.
We decided to leave on the second day of the war, and we tried to find someone to drive us to the border – any border, it didn’t matter. But there was so much traffic that we wound up having to take a train, and I have never seen anything so horrid before. It was so busy that we could barely get on a train – my daughter had to physically force me on. The scenes around us were horrible. Trains were so crowded that people were clinging to the outsides and falling. I managed to find a place to sleep, while my daughter slept on our luggage. It was like the last days of Pompeii or the fall of Carthage. As soon as we left the station, it was hit by a rocket. Even now, I cannot forget the sounds of the train moving on its tracks. The memories are with me everywhere.
I spent my whole life in Lyadova before this, and I just want to go back. It was so beautiful, my Lyadova, with its forests and trees and fruits to pick. The flowers in Lyadova are so pretty, and I think about them all the time. Thinking of flowers makes me think of my childhood friend Bluma, whose name means flowers. I still remember poems I learned in school about the flowers of Ukraine.
I have so many ailments. I have gangrene in my foot, I have cataracts so I cannot see, and I have diabetes but no medicine. I do not even know who to ask. My daughter and I, we have little money. We cannot afford the medicine, and my granddaughter has a heart condition. I do not even think about myself, but who will help her? My daughter wants a better life for us and to move on to Germany after this, but I don’t want to go. I don’t trust the Germans after what happened in the Second World War.
I do not understand why this is happening. Why, why, why? Why do they hate us Ukrainians so much? Russians, why is this war happening? Why can’t there just be peace?
I read the Bible all the time, and normally it comforts me, but not anymore. I do not believe in good after this. I want to die, but I want to die at home, in Lyadova, near my beautiful forests and the flowers. The world doesn’t even see or care what’s happening in Ukraine.
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Recorded by Sarah Pilchick, Humanitarian Communications Manager, HelpAge International