18-day journey across Europe to be received in the accommodation of Nadine and Francis Luro in Saint-Sardos.
A true chain of solidarity has been formed to welcome and help this Ukrainian family in this hostel generously borrowed by this couple from Agenais.
The Kopyrina-Lopatkin family consists of grandfather Valentin and his two daughters with their children.
Oléna came with her husband Alexsïe, their son Dmitrii (15 years old) and their daughter Anna-Anastasii (4 years old).
Her sister Natalia is accompanied by her mother-in-law Galina, her son Danilo (17) and her daughter Anastasia (7). Her husband stayed in Ukraine to defend his homeland.
“Arrived in France two weeks ago, they benefit from the help of the municipality and its mayor, Xavier Mas, who twice a week brings them food and clothing collected thanks to the generosity of all Saint-Sardossais”, tell us fellow citizens who wants them help.
After a long journey of 18 days through Poland, Germany and Belgium, they arrive in France from the north and are directed to our region thanks to Olena’s boss Eric Estegassi from the company Djoca Travel, Ukrainian manager of a travel agency with an office in Bordeaux. A relationship with the mayors of Agen and Saint-Sardos allows them to take advantage of an oasis of calm to protect themselves from the horrors of war, but without being able to forget the family, friends and colleagues who have remained under the rain Russian bombs.
During the trip, they are received in hotels or private homes “whose hearts were wide open”, Olena tells us with a beaming smile on her face.
An oasis of calm
An almost normal life tries to organize itself, the two little ones go to the school in Saint-Sardos and the two teenagers to the college of Aiguillon, where the first words of French are learned in order to communicate with classmates and teachers.
But it is still in English that we manage best to establish a dialogue during our interview and that they want to express all their gratitude: “We are very happy for the solidarity and the welcome of the many Saint-Sardossais and Lot-et-Garonnais who show many gestures of sympathy and help us”.
Their neighbors Claudine and Guy Lelaidier (stage name Claudine Laur) come daily to inquire about their needs and pay them a friendly visit.
Of course, if they enjoy peace and relative tranquility for the little ones, they cannot forget the horrors of this absurd war that is destroying their country. They hope to return to Ukraine “as soon as we win the war and rebuild our country,” Danilo and Dmitrii tell us.
“Our country is also engaged in a struggle to defend Western values of peace and democracy and to defend Europe against barbarism,” concludes Oléna.