Now they are smiling again.
The 24 children from an orphanage in southern Kyiv have returned to safety. At least for now.
But the shocks are still in my head.
It’s hard even for adults to process what they’ve been through. When bombs fall around them and they are launched. When day turns into night. The night is burning, says Lyubomir Mostovy, a priest at a boarding school in Lviv.
The orphanage school became the new home for children.
– The ground shook
14-year-old Sasha cannot forget the terrible night when the Russians bombed their village outside Kyiv.
– We stood by the window and heard two explosions on the road. The windows and the floor shook. We were so afraid. We started crying, then ran to the bomb room, she told TV 2.
She and her friend Julia, 13, were among the oldest of the group. They find it exciting to be in a new city – a place where the shops are still open and there are people on the streets.
But even here the constant alarms of planes remind them that war is not far away.
– We saw a video in which many people in Russia demonstrated because they did not want war on us. But their president will take over more and more countries. That’s how it is, says Sasja, shrugging his shoulders.
Better to forget
Director of the orphanage “The Eye Stick”And the Olga Haverlan, tells of a dramatic evacuation to the West.
The bus they were driving had to be escorted by police cars to reach the traffic chaos.
She believes that the best remedy for children now is not to talk more about war.
– We don’t talk about it. We are just trying to live. In the past 24 hours, she says, the kids have finally started smiling again.
The children in the orphanage are now housed in common rooms, and several volunteers have come to help revitalize them. Today they will paint and decorate cakes and go for a walk in the local community.
We try to make them feel at home. And to feel the warmth of our hearts, says Rev. Lyubomir Mostofi.
– Maybe he needs more land?
But teens Sasja and Julia are still following the news.
Like most people in Ukraine, they don’t understand why Putin wants to fight them. They learned at school that Russia is the largest country in the world.
– I don’t really know why he wanted more land, says Julia thoughtfully.
“Maybe he didn’t think he had enough of his place,” adds Sasja, who thought it would help in the negotiations.
– There were negotiations, but he still fought. Perhaps he does not understand where the boundaries go.
– I don’t think Putin intends to stop. Julia says he just wants to continue.
can only hope
Director Olga Haverilan is constantly walking around, hugging the children and comforting them that everything is fine.
– The people here are good and kind. They have already become our family. It’s good to be here, but it’s better to be home, says Julia, who hopes they can come back soon.
Although the situation in Lviv is now calm, adults understand that things can change at any time.
Olga does not want to tell the children that they may have to evacuate again if the war starts here.
– I try to keep my spirits high. I can’t do anything else. The only thing we’re left with is hope, she says as her voice cracks.
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