On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, around fifty Ukrainian refugees arrived in Brittany on a bus chartered by Diaconie brétillienne, an association founded by the diocese of Rennes. Three families, 18 people in all, were cared for by Dominique Gérard, deacon of the parish of Dinard-Pleurtuit. One of them lives in the Maison Saint-François, a Christian parish based in Dinard.
An apartment, within a Christian community
Maison Saint-François is located at the top of the Dinard coast. It is a house where Christians live and vacationers stay. It consists of a garden, a large house with common areas and bedrooms and separate accommodation. The Lavrov family has been living in one of these shelters for two weeks.
All five are from Kramatorsk, a town in Donbass, from which they fled a few days before the train station was bombed. They fled to Poland, where they boarded the bus chartered by the Diocese of Rennes. “They arrived with small bags, it was quite impressive, remembers Claire Inisan, member of the Maison Saint-François. To see that they came from the end of the world with next to nothing.“
This baggage, they put it on the first floor of a small house, In a flat consisting of two bedrooms, a living room, a separate kitchen, a dining room and a bathroom. “We had everything set upClaire continues. The fridge was filled thanks to many volunteers from the municipality, the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul association, the Secours Catholique, the Restos du Cœur and the food bank. When the mother arrived she was happy. We were relieved to see that they felt comfortable here.“
Community members, volunteers and neighbors
Since then, dozens of volunteers have supported and accompanied them. at the prefecture, at the bank or to find a job. The parents have already found a job. Father Ivan works as a laborer on a construction site. The mother, in a factory that makes pancakes. “For her, it was the best way to fit in and meet peopleexplains Gamina Dolya, a Franco-Ukrainian who has been living and translating in Dinard for almost 20 years. And then they always worked!“
In this week, two French teachers comes to teach, which calms Sofia, the eldest of the siblings, at 16. Next Monday she and her two little brothers will go back to school. “She is not afraid, but she wonders how she will treat others”, translates Gamina Dolya. For now, she uses a translation application on her cell phone. A new life is born for the Lavrov family. Only the noise of the planes sometimes brings them abruptly back to the war in their country.