You wake up every day, take kids to school and do whatever you usually do without its ever crossing your mind that one day everything can change. But then just one single day changes your life; Somewhere in your country, a war has begun.
My story is not a story about what happens when war comes to your house. It is about what happens when war stands just outside.
You start checking the news every hour, scared to see if maybe the situation has deteriorated. And the news shows something you never expected to see in your home news: the numbers of people who have been killed or injured. You look up at the sky and see helicopters, and you know there are soldiers inside – dead or fighting to survive and being taken to the hospital. You realize that they are someone’s sons or brothers or husbands, and it makes you sick. You look at your five-year-old daughter. You see that she knows that there is a war in our country, and she is no longer excited to see helicopters. She has become used to them.
Sometimes you act as you always do, but there is a big difference now. Questions constantly pound in your head: “What If…? What if they come here tomorrow? Where do I move? What do I take? How do I find a job?” You know that lots of people around you are thinking the same things. Some of them are just trying to joke; others already keep their essential things packed. You are scared even to imagine this, but you do understand that there are thousands of people who have already faced these hardships. There are lots of them in your home city. These people can’t believe their eyes when they see people traveling to work or going shopping, while just 200 kilometers away, they sleep in their basements, listen to explosions and are too afraid to go outside.
You just can’t believe that it is happening in your own country, in the middle of Europe, in this place that you’ve always thought safe. You’ve never imagined that you would feel this dreadfully gloomy atmosphere with its anticipation of war. And this is when you realize – war can knock at any door.
My name is Olia Zhugan. I live in Kharkiv, Ukraine. I have been working as an English teacher for more than 10 years. I am a mother of three, which is my most important job. I know that none of us is protected from the war these days and when it comes women and their children suffer the most. I want these women to realize that they don’t have to face the hardships alone, there are many people who are willing to help then. And I am just one of them…