By Khrystyna Bondarenko, Editor-in-Chief at 5.ua, Channel 5
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
We spent half a day with a family who lived 7 days in the basement. Tonight was the first time they spent the night at home. Little Olenka, who was mercilessly bitten by mosquitoes, is only now beginning to smile. From time to time she asks her mom to go back to the basement. She is afraid and began to stutter. In the past few days she had a terrible poisoning–her mom says that they had to eat lard, which they managed to take out of the fridge before the bombing. Just lard, no bread, no nothing. Instead of a “patty cake” game, she shows how the explosions thundered and how she covered her ears and eyes.
Her older sister, Polina, already knows what to talk about when she returns to school. Which, incidentally, doesn’t exist anymore. I do not know how she manages to smile all the time. And when, looking at her, you can no longer stand it–and turn away and cry–she hugs you and says that all will be fine and that [she] can share with you the biggest bubble ever that she will specifically blow for this purpose. From these words, you want to sink under the ground, ask for forgiveness, evaporate, become a genie only so that all this is forgotten forever for her and her sister.
And then you are offered tea. What flavor is tea from industrial water? I will not forget its taste for a long time. And for them, after a week in the basement, it is an incredible taste.
And porridge with canned meat. Today, the National Guard handed out MREs [Meals Ready to Eat]. Olenka and Polina’s mom says that it was the first time in her life that she stood in line for free bread with an outstretched hand–her hand reached out on its own for charity–hunger caused it to.
And still, the kids have a full plastic bag of [bullet] shells. The separatist creatures fought right from their apartment building. First they asked [to be let inside] the apartments, then they were shooting back straight out of the entrance, and meanwhile 25 people sat in the basement a wall away from them.
Lysychansk, by the way, suffered the most of all the cities. Unlike Sloviansk, here every street is broken up. And yes, they reluctantly meet the National Guard. Not because they are not happy, not because they do not love their country. They quietly switch to [speaking] Ukrainian and say that they “love their Motherland” but … yet they do not care who is right–they want to eat, sleep in their homes, work at their factories like they used to, and only then to sort out what actually happened in their country.
By the way, will there be any social services and psychologists to work with these people?