Since arriving in France on March 10, Serhii and Diana have only hoped for one thing: that the war would end so they could return to Zhytomyr, their hometown about 150km west of Kyiv.
Sitting in their sister Ella’s living room, whose tiny house overlooks Royat, the 14-year-old teenager and his 23-year-old eldest are now safe from Russian bombing raids. But her mind is elsewhere, scattered on a long journey across Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany to save her life; largely monopolized by the horrors of war. Their faces are pale, their emotions held back, their hearts broken.
bonus From Royat (Puy-de-Dôme), Ella wants to send medicine and a message of hope to the Ukrainians
“I have everything there, my family, my friends, I want to go back. Even though my school was bombed, I continue to take video classes,” explains Serhii, who fights the sad-tinged anger that gnaws at him every day and keeps him from sleeping.
“Europe thinks while our people fight and die. We’ll hold out to the last man, but when there’s no one left to defend, who can stop this monster? »
Serhii and Diana
Diana also tries to keep herself busy so as not to think. She helps her sister, who has just given birth to a little girl, she does the housework, she cooks. The young woman, who worked in a pharmacy, confesses in a tired voice: “Every day I feel more powerless in the face of the situation. I think of those who stayed in the cellars, the cold, the damp, without food. I worry for everyone I left behind. When I call them, they tirelessly end the conversation by saying, “I’ll call you back when I can, I’ll go downstairs.” I really want us to be able to come back, pick up our lives again, rebuild ourselves, try. »
“Occupy Her Trembling Hands”
“We’re trying to resume the normal resume, we’re pretending we can’t help it,” Ella describes. His mother, a cytologist who arrived at the end of March, even delved into French medical books with the help of a dictionary, hoping, hoping, for a job at the university hospital while she awaited her departure. “She wants to make herself useful and work, like most refugees who arrive. You have to keep their trembling hands busy,” Ella analyses.
Ella handles the emergency while she ponders what’s next
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this French-based interpreter has mobilized to collect medicines that she sent to her father, a gynecological surgeon at Zhytomyr Hospital. Today she is working to unite the efforts of her association, Agir ensemble pour l’Ukraine, and all those who help refugees. In addition to distributing the essentials, she wants to offer psychological support and jobs. After the emergency situation, it is now a question of working in the longer term.
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