Olga (66)

March 26, 2022, Rusovce. Day 30 of the war.

She held a small dog in her arms, a small hero who did not reveal them with his barking when they were hiding. She wears a badge with the Ukrainian flag on her chest. Even after weeks in Slovakia, she cannot get rid of the trauma and fear. She is ready to run and hide whenever she hears a plane flying above her head.        

"We were lucky. A friend told me that the situation in Boyarka worsened the next day, and that even the taxi drivers there refused to drive and rescue people. You find yourself alone somewhere in the middle of the night watching the rockets fly over your head and pray that it doesn't fall on you. Even our dog somehow understood what was going on and didn't bark at all. If it barked, it could reveal our hiding spot.” 

“We left Kiev on February 25th. In the beginning, everyone hid in the subway, people even created their own shelters at home. It's complicated, but it can be done. You have to re-arrange the furniture so that you are protected, it is especially necessary to keep the lights off during the night. The only things you see then are flashes of explosions and glowing lines behind flying rockets. When we left the city, we stayed with friends along the way, also in shelters. I remember that one was about 40 m2 and there were 12 people with one dog and a cat sleeping there. It was interesting that our dog, which does not like cats, became friends with the cat. Even the animals felt the uniqueness of this situation. We went to western Ukraine after, the journey took us about 3 days.” 

“On the first day after arriving here, we went for a walk to the city. It was calm, people were walking around, enjoying the day. Suddenly we heard the plane. The first thing that comes to your mind is to look for a place to hide. Then you look around and realise that everyone is calm, no one is running anywhere. It is a huge trauma, we are still fighting it. When we phone to our friends, they tell us that the situation is still the same. But the sounds of gunfire can be heard on the phone. My husband stayed at home. I still don't understand how I could have left him there. However, he urged me to leave. I want to be with him. However, he manages the situation very well so far, he cooks himself, he goes out to help. My mom and sister and my family stayed there. Fortunately, it is still calm where they live, sometimes they see helicopters or tanks, but there is no fighting as of yet. There are a lot of young people who immediately signed up for the local defense. They don't give them weapons yet, they say it’s not necessary. You hear reports of looting from other places, that they shoot at people on the run. It's the 21st century and they're doing this. Why? After all, they are a rich country, they don't need it! They say they are our brothers, and yet they kill our children. This is unacceptable. We thank Europe for helping us, accepting us and supplying us with weapons. But that's not enough! We have done nothing to the Russians, we do not know why we deserved this.” We have the 21st century, we fly into space, the world is open, you can travel, why should we kill each other? Why? Russia is huge, it has a lot of land, a lot of areas where people don't live, a lot of oil, money. They just have to evolve, they don't need our country at all. If they don't need the land and destroy whole cities, that means they're taking revenge on us for something, but for what? ”

"As a parent, you try to protect your children from the war, you don't talk about politics, or about war in general with them. But they learn about it anyway, and they've even learned to recognize different rocket sounds very well. They're just kids, they shouldn't know this!”