АвторAuthor: Kateryna Bankova | Translation:
27 August 2022
Khrystyna Bukatynska from the village of Dachne in Odesa region wanted to close the window so that her little daughter would not be afraid of loud noises. In a few minutes, the woman was already lying on the floor in the next room, with a window broken because of the blast wave. How Khrystyna feels after her injuries, what she tells her children about the war, how she evacuated and why she returned, read in “Monologues of the War ” project.
I got out of the shower and went to lull the children’s sleep. The elders still could not calm down. The air alarm began. The first explosion, we are in the corridor. The second explosion, silence. The third – silence again. We thought, well, that’s all, probably, there won’t be any more. The younger daughter was very scared and she cried loudly. We decided to close the windows so that the little one would at least not be afraid of the sound of the alarm. The husband asked to let him close the door in the kitchen and I went to the bedroom. The children stayed in the hallway. I went to the window and grabbed the handle and in a moment just saw that it was flying. Then, I already remember how the precinct officer came and shouted whether we were alive. And everything around was on fire. “Let’s hurry, the gas is leaking, it might explode.” I could not understand what was happening. There was blood on the floor, on the walls, and there was also glass all around. There was a window frame on me and an icon next to it. The impression was that I was no longer there. I believe that the curtain saved me then, because some of the fragments were not on me, but on it. Where are my children? Is mom alive? The man helped me to stand up. We ran out of the house with our bare feet on the glass. District Roman Mygush helped to get the children. I am very grateful to him for that. The girls were terribly frightened and trembling with fear. They saw how the explosive wave carried me all the way to the kitchen. But fortunately, they themselves were not injured. Only the door fell on them. All relatives are fine. It’s like we were born under a lucky star. My pets, a parrot and a rat, were almost unharmed. They sat each in their own cage, so they were thrown out in their cages. But they are alive, just like dogs and cats. Only the aquarium fish were unlucky, unfortunately they could not be saved.
I had a terrible headache and at the same time I was bleeding. An ambulance was called. The doctors said that everything was fine. They advised me to apply ice. For some reason they didn’t give me a sedative. Everything is like a dream. It was very horrifying. That night we did not sleep. We were told to leave there because there could be a second flight. My dad took the children to my mother-in-law. I, together with my husband, left the village in a broken car and just stood in the field. Of course, we didn’t have time to clean the cabin, so we drove sitting on broken glass.
It literally flew right next to us. There is no neighboring house at all. When there are explosions somewhere, you are worried and think: “My God, how these poor people over there endure all this”, and when you experienced it yourself… it is very difficult for the psyche. I’m smiling now, but the shock hasn’t passed yet.
Nowadays we live in Odessa. People with housing helped us. But we go home, rake and clean. It is necessary to restore the roof, windows and walls in some places. We have just finished renovating the older girls’ rooms. Everything had already been bought for them so that from September 1 they could do their homework at the new desks. But now repairs will have to be done in the whole house from scratch.
The youngest daughter, Nicole, screams. She does not even want to enter our house. Nicole is very scared. I calm her down, say that it’s just a big car that fell. And she said to me: “No, a big rocket has fallen there.” Children understand everything.
Some people ask me, why did you come to the window? Don’t I know that you can’t do this? Well, that’s how it turned out. What should be done? Nothing to change.
The pain did not subside. I went to the doctors for help. It turned out that I had a closed craniocerebral head injury and a fragment somewhere near the eye. I was operated on and the fragment was removed. Almost everything has healed. But memories, unfortunately, will not go anywhere.
A deputy was coming. He promised to help with the installation of windows. And with eye treatment too. He actually called and asked about my condition. And he disappeared when I talked about the windows. Ordinary people have responded and are helping. Some people transfer money to the card. Someone gives advice. Whoever can, helps.
I did not believe that there could be a war. Is this possible in the civilized world?? I thought it was empty talk again. But on the morning of February 24, we woke up to explosions. I opened the news and it already says that it has started. We quickly started packing. First we went to the gas station, and there was already panic and queues.
We were at home for about a week, but then we still decided to leave the country. We have three children. Ten-year-old twins Angelina and Karina and three-year-old Nicole. We had the opportunity to go with the whole family, since my husband has the right to cross the border during martial law. This is allowed to all parents with many children. We went to Moldova. There are no relatives or friends there. We were just going nowhere. We didn’t even know where we would spend the night. There was an endless number of cars at the border. We stood in line for 8 hours. Finally, they let us through.
Lots of people everywhere. Fuss. We were met by volunteers. They helped to settle in the refugee assistance center. We were only allowed to live there for a week until we found a place to live. We monitored all real estate sites. Finding an apartment was quite difficult. Finally we got lucky. One man contacted us and offered to rent his house in the village. We liked the offer, so we went there. We were well received. We were satisfied with everything. But home is home. Therefore, after 1.5 months, we still decided to return.
We understood where we were going and that there was a war there. It was scary, but we gathered our thoughts and went home. I am a homebody. I was born and grew up here. I can’t be anywhere else. We arrived, and there were air alarms, explosions.
We have been here for some time and seem to have gotten used to it. And then this arrival. Now that’s creepy. During the day, I am constantly doing something. That’s the only way to get distracted. It’s scary as soon as it’s night. Immediately the picture before the eyes. I understand that nowhere is safe. We live now in an apartment in a high-rise building. As soon as the air alarm, we all run to the parking lot. And people are walking around as if nothing is happening. I used to ignore alarms too. I thought, well, the rocket will fly all the way here? Now I react differently. The youngest is now very afraid of loud sounds. When the door slammed, she immediately covers her ears and trembles. Many children need to work with psychologists. And adults too.
We all often complain that something is wrong in our life. And now I want to get my old life back. I worked in a restaurant where I prepared the most delicious sushi. I took care of the children. We had a normal life, like everyone else’s. We worked and rested. We loved going to the sea as a whole family. On February 23, Nicole went to kindergarten for the first time. She liked it very much, she didn’t even want to go home. Of course, she didn’t go there on the 24th. I try to be positive despite everything. I notice that our nation is very friendly.
I wanted to explain to the children what is happening in our country, but the elders had already found out everything on the Internet.«Mom, we know everything. We have phones and Google. We read. We have already downloaded the app with air alarms».
My father has relatives in Russia, but “it’s just a special operation. It’s OK”. There is absolutely no point in convincing. I gave interviews to journalists but I was told in the comments under the stories that I drew an black eye, they even swore obscenities. They don’t understand what’s going on here. Or do not want to. «Breathe your last there, this is not our war». There will be no reconciliation, I suppose. There is no forgiveness for them.
We are thinking of staying here for now. We are slowly putting the house in order. When we win, we will go there immediately. If, God forbid, we were under occupation, then I would definitely go abroad. I want to live in Ukraine. Let’s hold on.
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: Kateryna Bankova | Translation:
“Until the last moment, I hoped that russia would not dare to launch a full-scale attack, but relying on 2014, I knew that someday it would happen,” – this is a story of a woman from Luhansk who is fleeing the war for the second time already