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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Alexandra with his sons

    Oleksandra Homonai: “If you open your heart, you can help even if you don’t know what”


    АвторAuthor: Lidia Bilyk | Translation:

    22 June 2022

    Oleksandra Homonai before the beginning of the full-scale invasion of housing by ordinary life in her native Mukachevo. From the first day of the war, while on maternity leave, she began volunteering. Currently, women are already helping and continue to help dozens, coordinating many processes simply from their own kitchen.

    People called and asked, “Where are you from?” They thought I was from an organization or a volunteer headquarters. And I didn’t know what to say, because I wasn’t an official volunteer then. Therefore, while preparing, I replied that my organization is called “Mom can do anything”.

    Many people say: what can I do? There is really a lot you can do. My three children and I took away humanitarian aid, loaded cars and buses. I dragged them everywhere. Everything is possible. If you have an open heart, you can help, even if you do not know what.

    Honestly, before the full-scale war, I was a completely apolitical person. We didn’t collect anxious suitcases, somehow we weren’t interested in it. And on the morning of February 24, my husband wrote to me that the war had begun. I read the message and think: “what kind of war, what kind of war can we have ?! Yesterday was all great. ”  I turned on the first TV and saw Zelensky’s address.

    On the same day that the war broke out, an acquaintance called me and said that her daughter, a student, could not leave Kyiv with her boyfriend, and asked if I could help. My husband is a truck driver. I immediately turned to him and said: “Listen, which of you is in Kyiv?”. That’s how it all started. We decided that we were trying to call the truckers we knew to pick up the children in the trucks. It was a difficult situation in Kyiv then, bombs were everywhere, but the daughter of an acquaintance of mine can still get on the train.

    Humanitarian aid for people from Kramatorsk

    200 kilograms of sausages went from Mukachevo to people in Kramatorsk

    And during this time, a whole bunch of people have already gathered for the truck that my friend’s child had to ride. I just wrote on Facebook that a truck will go to the west of the country and the location where it is located. All call and write. I kept calling the driver and he said, “We’re not going, we’re standing.” People just “stuck” the truck from the whole page.

    He turned on the refrigerator (refrigerator) on the “plus” and took all the people who wanted to leave Kiev. There were children in the cabin with him, and other people were sitting or even standing in that refrigerator. The driver told us that he was driving and just crying all the way. That’s how we took people out of Kyiv. Understand, this is how information is composed perfectly: I had it and in 5 minutes someone needed it. And all, somehow it spun.

    My first request for humanitarian aid was in Gostomel, from the late mayor Yuri Prilipka. He sent an official request to our Mukachevo Help community, and we gathered everything we could get there. In our last conversation, Mr. Yuriy said that he had to run because they had an open green corridor. He must deliver medicine, food and water to people. And the next day I learned that he had been killed by the Russians.

    Products and necessary medicines for first-aid kits of the military of the Armed Forces

    Products and necessary medicines for first-aid kits of the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Kyiv region

    The first two weeks of the war, I did not go out into the city. I was just on the phone all the time, coordinating people and helping them evacuate from different parts of Ukraine. She paved routes, told where to make transfers. I once helped a woman with three small children evacuate. She was going to Uzhhorod. From the city where she was going to get to Uzhgorod, you need to make 6 transfers.

    I kept in touch with her. If the train transfer took place at three in the morning, I also didn’t sleep and called the person at that time, asking where they were, what the reason was, or a lot of people so that I could understand what to do. Therefore, if I undertook to evacuate some people to coordinate them from point “A” to point “B”. Many people needed support, they constantly had to say that everything would be fine, do not cry, you can do anything. The road is long and difficult, especially with small children, but it was necessary to support people morally.

    You know, I sat on the phone all day, talking to dozens of people, and then crying at night. And then I got up in the morning and told them again that everything would be fine. I know a lot of different stories that have happened to people, it may not be to my heart’s content, but I’ve learned to live and let go of the band. 

    There was a case when we helped find a dead soldier and found a person who identified the body. Then it is very difficult to call relatives and say that we knew him if a person died. I have to avoid dealing with 200 people because it is difficult morally, but when they specifically turn to me and ask for help, I can’t refuse.

    Wheelchairs for a hospital

    Wheelchairs for a hospital in Dnipro

    I can’t go from a wide profile to a narrow one (jokes), I do a lot of things. And from the very beginning, when people asked, “Who are you?”, I didn’t know what to say because I couldn’t understand my profile. I had everything: an evacuation, a humanitarian with diapers and food, two hundred and three hundred, and “help find transport”, and armor, that is, I took care of everything. Then people asked me what volunteer organization I came from, and I said, “Mom can do anything.” And they asked, “Where are you?” I just changed and called my home address. Someone understood that I was joking, and someone may have really thought that there is such an organization.

    The first days of the war, when we realized that the guys packed in bags would run out and they would be hungry, we raised money and bought 4 pigs, which were used to make stew for the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade. There is something to remember, because the work was in full swing.

    Humanitarian aid on the front line

    Humanitarian aid to the military on the front line

    There are still places where humanitarian aid needs to be sent today. Mostly these are things. Often these are dirty things, clothes and need to be washed. Every day I pick up four boxes of things and stop them. I know where those things are sent, but I don’t know if people will be able to wash them.

    In general, I do not cover my activities in public. I’m just writing some stories on Facebook that I’ve heard from people I’ve met and who have impressed me the most. But maybe someone will read my story, be inspired by my example and be more helpful to others.

    Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
    Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.

    Why is it important to share this story?
    If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.

    АвторAuthor: Lidia Bilyk | Translation:


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