Poverty, cold, shelling, destruction, finally the escape. These are abstract terms from the news. For the people from the vast areas around Kherson, Mariupol, Donetsk or Luhansk, this is bitter reality.
They fled after months in the cellars. They rescued themselves to Odesa, registered as internally displaced persons. Settled for the simplest of accommodations, often no more than tiny garden sheds. A long working life behind them, they have to get by on a few euros a month. This money is not even enough for medication. Too much to die, but too little to live.
There are the single mothers with severely disabled children. They take care of them without any concern for their own needs. There are the daughters who have to work and leave their bedridden mom alone during the day. They can’t tell her there’s no going back. Everything destroyed. How to live without a future, without the home?
These people have left everything behind. They had to bury sons, bear inconceivable losses. They struggle from one day to the next. And yet they smile when Vitaliy and Masha come with our supplies. Most of them are taking every single piece in their hands. Masha then writes down what is needed the next time. This is often followed by some tea, something home-baked. Always a gesture of hospitality. And there is always a hug.
We will introduce you to some of these people in the near future. How can a single person be so strong? We have always thought so, simply all the time.
One woman said, “The food helps us so much. But it helps us even more that you don’t forget us.”