Anya's story (stories from Ukrainian refugees)

29 Apr, 2016 | Ukraine
OM International
Anya, a 17 year old high school student shares her story about how she fled from the war zone and came to stay at OM Odessa's centre:

My name is Maslova Anna Michailovna and I was born in 1998. I used to live in Krasnii Luch, in the province of Lugansk in Ukraine, until the war started…

Never did I think that war, any war would become a reality to me and that it would impact so much on my life. On the 8th of August 2014 war came into my world in a way I could never have imagined.

For the whole of the summer that year, there was peace in our town. Families enjoyed the warm sunshine and the peace. Then one fateful day the ‘peaceful summer’ became for families just a memory.

On the 10th of August our whole family was nervously gathered, waiting for the commencement of my older sister’s wedding, which was to take place in our home. The festivities had just started as we heard the first bombs falling. Even though it was some distance away, across the fields, frightened neighbours and friends gathered all they could carry. They tried to escape on whatever transport they could find.

We were forced to do the same. I found it extremely difficult to leave loved ones. We all left to face the ravages of war. My hometown, where once the sight of cars and children playing was a common occurrence, had been replaced by tanks and soldiers occupying the roads.

Since there was no way for our father and brother to join us – we could only hope and pray that they would come at some point, but when? My mother and I ended up in a camp for refugees where we stayed for two months. All this time we were able to keep contact with the town by those left behind, awaiting the good news… but good news never came. Instead,  we heard whispers that our home was being used by soldiers, not Ukrainian ones, but those from neighbouring countries. 

For a while, those left behind, like our family and friends fought hard to claim back our town, but to no avail. The town became unrecognizable. Buildings had been destroyed, stores ravaged and homes, once a centre of joy and laughter, lay abandoned shells. Once there were numerous supermarkets, now only two were open… and that soon became just one.  If there was any stock left on the shelves, it was soon decimated by people rushing in to buy up everything in sight.

We praise God that somehow we heard about the “Heritage Foundation” and OM team leader Slavik Puzanov.

Now, I am living in the OM base in Odessa - delighted that even though it has been hard, I am now enrolled again in school and at last able to finish the 11th grade and get my Ukrainian High School diploma. This base has become a huge blessing for me and for many others. It has been a sanctuary from the turmoil of war, so much so, that if it is possible, I would like to stay here in Odessa to further my studies. 

My brother, who was unable to leave our town when my mother and I fled, has now joined us and is also now living here. As he seeks permanent work, he is able to help out around the base with repairs and other jobs.

When I think about the Ukraine: There is hope…

Pray for Anya and her family, as well as the many other families displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. 

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