A Ukrainian memoir: When the layer of personal protection collapses – Culture

On the morning of Wednesday, May 11, it starts early, at half past seven we want to leave Chernivtsi for Romania. When I came to the kitchen, my roommate, I’m from Mariupol, was already there, and she had to leave early, and leave the house a little before seven on weekdays. While we sip our morning tea, we talk briefly. Since our dog Bar Bars, renamed Bayraktar (like the Turkish combat drone) since the beginning of the war, has been barking outside, we come to the topic of dogs. I am saying that a female colleague was given a puppy yesterday, she cannot remember the name of the breed. But an old man in Mariupol who lived nearby had such, he always took him for walks, slowly, the dog was old too, now and then they stopped and walked. Then she is silent. I am silent too. We might be thinking the same thing right now: Could this man and his dog save himself?

I have to go, we wish each other a nice day. I’m following the story, and it’s not really a story, it’s just an approach to it. The effect that three sentences about an unknown person with an unknown dog can have is unbelievable; I feel like they are piercing the protective layer of brutality and coldness I have placed upon myself. As if the anesthetic that normally protects against pain would suddenly stop working, even though I see and read much worse things every day. I sincerely hope they both made it. This story has a reasonably happy ending. At the same time, I know there are thousands of stories like this that don’t have a happy ending. That thousands of old, young and their pets did not succeed – from Mariupol, Kherson, Kharkiv, Izyum, Belohirka, Popasna, Rubyshyn, Severodonetsk, Kramatorsk, Chernihiv, Trostiants, Hostomil, Bucha, Irbin … The right to life was denied because a clique of The paranoid in the Kremlin imagined that they had to tell Ukraine how to live, think and speak. And if we are not prepared to live according to the principles of this inhuman order, we must be destroyed. A “final solution”, as Timofej Sergeiu described it.

Not a single gas station on the way to the border sells fuel

It’s good that I don’t have much time to delve into my thoughts. I will soon return to our team of four in the pickup truck, and speak to my colleagues in an ironic, down-to-earth tone. Not a single gas station on the way to the border sells fuel. No diesel or petrol. S says. A neighbor from his village had to queue for three hours for ten liters. This is another reason why Romania is our salvation. The woman at the gas station asks if we are from Ukraine. When we answer in the affirmative, she sympathetically shakes her head. We can also fill cans. Aid supplies from IKGS are waiting for us this time in the underground car park of a hotel, unloaded there early in the morning because the car had to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our car can’t get in, it’s too high, luckily the hotel employee has a pickup. Several very heavy boxes: they contain children’s toys, children’s books, coloring books, soap bubbles and puzzles. A special kind of humanitarian aid, which was made possible for us thanks to the organization “Schüler Helfen Leben”. A few days ago, we also received another donation of baby supplies from Bread and Books eV, made possible thanks to the personal commitment of writer Tanja Kinkel. In consultation with the association, we want to spend the money primarily in rural communities where refugees live with children. In addition, there is the donation as “spiritual food” from the author herself: we are now in possession of her complete works, which we are incorporating into the Thought Center’s rooftop library.

On the way back we decided to buy groceries as there was still room in the car. Several types of canned goods, croissants, pasta, tea and sweets are now shipped to Ukraine from Kaufland and Lidl. Once again, I thank two ladies from Berlin, PS and DK for the generous amounts transferred directly to my card. When we got to the student village, where groceries are being unloaded, it was already dark, some residents were sitting outside, the evening was warm and there was still no curfew. some help. A special assistant also wants to take part in the process, a girl of eight or nine years old. “Sonia, they are heavy boxes, not yours,” says her mother, who also lends a helping hand. It occurs to me that we have something she can carry, which are small tea tins. Then the driver hands it all four or five. We finished quickly, Sonya asked which dessert she liked, vanilla or chocolate. “Vanilla,” she says, “no, I’d rather eat chocolate.” So chocolate, and thank you, dear Sonia.

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