The war changed all our lives. We learned to tell the difference between truly important things and secondary issues, friends from foes, and we also looked at our own homes in a new way. This home becomes much more expansive than an apartment, a district, or even a hometown. Our home, our comfort zone, is 603.548 square kilometers! This is our whole Ukraine, this incredible and unbreakable country of fantastically brave, strong, and kind people!
Vision and mood
“When we lost our home, it felt like we lost the ground under our feet,” Ms. Zhanna from Novoselivka, Chernihiv Oblast, admits.
“But I found solace in thinking that the most valuable things are stored in our hearts and not within four walls. The most significant thing is that I have someone to hold my hand and someone to lend a helping hand to. We cannot have everything back to the way it was. But we can keep those precious and important things we still have.”
Step 1. Lost home
“Our Novoselivka was technically razed to the ground by the Russians,” the woman says.
“It’s scary to look at the ruined household even now, as surviving houses are rare here; you can count them on your fingers. Almost 147 houses burned down, and another 167 were damaged. The language of numbers is emotionless. It cannot describe the calamity that came to every yard, all those stories of loss and pain. But these are the stories of our struggle, courage, strength, and of us being unbreakable at the same time!”
“We went to my friend’s house in Chernihiv; although it was not much safer there, the city was also shelled, and shelled hard. There were simply no calm and safe places there. We visited our home in Novoselivka a couple of times in those short and rare intervals between shellings to retrieve some potatoes and vegetables from the cellar. Then we ultimately stopped going there because it was a real hell, and one day our neighbors called us and said: “You can stop coming for potatoes; your house is gone.” These words just knocked me off my feet.”
“The first days were full of tears and despair; my soul was hurting. This house was not just walls, a roof, and furniture. It was full of our memories and the path we had traveled as a family. It was our dream that we had worked very hard for and cherished for a long time. My husband and I had always dreamed of one day owning our own home, so we built it together and put so much of our souls and work into it. At just three years old, the house was still brand new. It is so unusual to say “was.” But when we came to the ruins of our home, there was still some joyful news awaiting us.”
Step 2. We will be reborn stronger!
“Because as he got scared of shelling and ran away, and we couldn’t find him, we weren’t able to take our cat, Ryzhyk, with us when we left. I was very worried about him, but as it turned out, he had hidden in a neighbor’s house. Unfortunately, that house also burned down, but the basement remained, saving the cat’s life. So when Ryzhyk heard our voices in the yard and ran to my husband and me, I cried at the ruins of our home for the first time, not out of despair, but out of joy! Life is the most precious thing!”
“And then we took clearing away the rubble, clearing the yard, and planting a new vegetable garden. You cannot lose your spirit when you are busy with work – especially when you have help from caring people. We thank the Goodacity space for many necessary items we couldn’t have gone without in making ourselves comfortable for life and work in the household where basically nothing was left. People are now rebuilding little by little, some at their own expense, some with the help of volunteers or the state. I feel that if we work together like this, uniting the whole country, we will quickly rebuild everything!”
“The old-timers of the village, who still remembered the Second World War, said that Novoselivka had been basically destroyed then, too, as the “gateway” to Chernihiv. This spring, the Russian occupiers reached only the beginning of the village and could not go any further. The fiercest line of defense was here, and our soldiers saved not only Chernihiv but Kyiv, too, with their incredible heroism! We all took this hit together. Together, we will rebuild every house and street and plant new trees and flower beds in places mutilated by Russian shells. The occupiers ruined our homes and properties, but they will not destroy us. They will not destroy our will, our hands, our knowledge, our souls, and our ability to connect and help each other.”
Time to sum it up
There is nothing more precious than the people around us! Only together will we have enough strength and inspiration to rebuild our country and homes and restore and organize everything that was destroyed. We will rebuild and be reborn even stronger, keeping this spirit of unity and kindness!
You can afford yourself the luxury of goodness!
Doing good is very simple!
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