Original written by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva and posted at her littlehirosima blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk
It is becoming more and more difficult to write reports with each trip.
The volume and scope of aid has grown larger every time.
We are already on our way, but I’m still struggling to write the last final report.
We made our 8th trip in a car packed to the gills with stuff, medicines, and one wheelchair. It may sound silly to write of being packed to the gills with one wheelchair, but so be it. Opting not to rent a van was the best decision we’ve made in the last six months.
Our trip there was not without mishaps about which I’ve written before. We’ve never had a trip without mishaps.
But maybe this time everything will go smoothly.
Only recently did I realize that I’ve written little about HOW we go about doing what we do. That would take a book, maybe two.
Everything is so mixed up in my head that there is neither time nor strength to sort it all out. Only the mad and endless chase. The customs gave us the usual problems, but not having a cargo vehicle with tons of food helped.
One can buy everything on the Donbass except for medicine. I’ve written elsewhere about the catastrophic situation concerning access to drugs.
Everything else can be bought on the spot, and in some cases for less than in Russia at wholesale prices.
The problem is that people don’t have money to buy anything.
Therefore we purchased all the food, cleaning and hygiene supplies such as diapers and suchlike on the spot in Lugansk using the funds that were sent us.
We’ve stopped delivering the customary humanitarian aid, namely canned meat, pasta, and grains.
The region’s problem is not that there is a shortage of food, but rather that they’ve had to live for more than a year without access to fresh food, namely meat, dairy, and vegetables. That’s what we delivered this time. Many children suffer from avitaminosis and they are constantly ill. Some people haven’t seen fresh milk for over a year. We always try to help those who are the most needy.
Every morning in Lugansk looked approximately like this:
Then we put everything into presorted packets, unless we were delivering to an institution such as an orphanage or a home for the elderly.
In the course of these months, we’ve acquired all the necessary skills associated with loading, distribution, and jigsaw puzzle assembly. So if the worst comes to worst, we’ll always find work)
Every morning we got whole piles of receipts (on the clickable photos below). Many places did not issue receipts, only their own papers of some sort. I’ve posted everything I could find, please forgive me, but I’m running all the accounting and reporting my myself ((
Naturally, it would have been more convenient to order and buy everything in one-two spots rather than do all the running around ourselves. The receipts would have been more presentable too, not these pieces of paper found somewhere on the market issued by grandmas screaming they don’t have any stamps. But instead all their food is fresh, we can save money by not renting a van and, most importantly, these days it’s impossible to bring such a huge volume of food across the border unless you are an official foundation. Some of the receipts were published in earlier reports.
We bought the diapers at local markets. Yes, the receipts surprised us, but we had no choice.
Food from markets
We ordered a lot at various stores. Prices are in hryvnya, so to get the ruble price multiply by two:
It just so happened during our last visit that the majority of funds at our disposal came from outside of Russia, which shocked me. They money was sent by foreigners who have no relation to our country. They include my constant readers from Fort Russ (Americans and Europeans), as well as Germans who are members of the facebook Humanbataillon Donbass group. Thanks to Sasha Grodskiy and Mikhail Yasinskiy for the translations into English and German! Thank you, those of you who are far from our country. Your concern ought to be an example to all of us.
Humanity knows no language, registration, or zip code.
Moreover, I just realized that many individuals have become constant donors. Thank you, one and all. Many individuals made donations while concerned whether it will get through. I know that feeling and understand it very well. Therefore it’s important to me that people trust me.
Thank you everyone who helped buy necessary medicines and delivered them home, who brought various items, who sent packets. Lena Zhukova, Tanya Anikina, Sergey Beglov, Katya Shkenyova, Aleksey Levichev.
Thanks to everyone who is giving us moral support and is sending warm personal messages. Who is worried for our health, for my sanity, and who sends us gifts. It moves us to tears.
It would it impossible to provide aid without all of you.
One more thanks to my team)
Zhenya (the Moscow one), one of the most responsive and concerned people I know. And, yes, the word’s best race car driver.
Zhenya (the Lugansk one), who asks not to post his photos for understandable reasons, is a rock. Zhenya, with his nerves of steel, always counters my insane decisions to distribute food while the shells are falling. He’ll go help even when running a fever or suffering from the flu. Then there’s our clever Lenochka who keeps track of everything we do for the people we’ve taken under our care–Vika, Kutsenko, Lyosha. Who monitors all the purchases and distribution when I’m not in Lugansk. She has wonderful memory and fantastic green borshch (in other words, what I know as shchav soup and not soup, but so be it).
Lena also has hair down to her waist which makes me bite my fingernails and many other body parts)
When we all drove down to Pervomaysk, where we delivered a lot of medicaments.
Pervomaysk has long become a home town for me…
In this photo I am with Olya Ishchenko, the acting mayor of Pervomaysk for the time being. If people like that were in charge everywhere, our live would be that much better. The lists of people needing aid were put together by the guys in the commandant’s office at Olya’s request.
We’ve been to many places and I can tell you without any hesitation that few people care about the city as much as she does. She’s not only a great hero. She’s a beautiful fragile woman, an individual with unbending will who genuinely cares about people like few others. And she does even more.
These individuals are some of the many whom we brought life-saving medicine. My friends from the commandant’s office delivered the rest. I’ll put out the photos later.
Pervomaysk was forced to close the majority of communal cafeterias, which fed the city for the whole year and where we delivered aid, due to an order from on high. Now there are only two such cafeterias open, unfortunately. But Olya and others said there was nothing they could do. They held out to the last–I saw that with my very own eyes.
Therefore this time our aid was more focused on specific individuals. We also helped several families who were in a tough spot.
For example, Yelena Anatolyevna Shevchenko, two children, husband retired. No work, they live off welfare.
I already wrote many other reports.
We helped the psycho-neurological dormitory in Lotikovo with food, hygiene products, razors, cleaning supplies. We delivered food to an orphanage in Krasnyy Luch. We delivered care supplies to the retirement home in Rovenki. That’s where we delivered the wheelchair, to be used by Anna Kostikova, born 1982. She is disabled since childhood and was sent to the retirement home straight from the orphanage. Thanks to Sergey for delivering the wheelchair.
We delivered crutches to Nikolay Milyakin, born 1960.
We took under our wing Lyosha, a young man who became disabled and forced to live at a retirement home.
Vika is a constant and significant item on our aid roster, a girl who suffers from diabetes and whose eyesight we are struggling to save.
Also Sergey Kutsenko who’s also under our wing, a single retiree whose house in Khrashchevatoye was completely destroyed and whose leg was amputated.
In addition to Kutsenko, we are delivering aid to the retirement home where he is living. They have many bedridden there. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to write about this in detail.
Diapers and sweets for the bedridden.
We also started to help the little Kirill who was abandoned by his mother. Zhenya and Lena have already visited him at the hospital many times.
The biggest problem here is that after I wrote about that kid I received four replies from people willing to adopt him on the spot. But right now it’s impossible due to legal reasons.
We also helped a few moms who are in a difficult situation in Rovenki. For example, Anna Nikolayevna Platonova. Her husband was wounded, they have a 6-month daughter.
Part Eight is a notional title, because our aid is no longer limited to our actual visits. We are constantly sending money and medicines to those under our care, which is something you can read about on our blog. I’m also sending money to be distributed among the needy, such as families with many children, the elderly, etc.
Without me noticing it, the Donbass wove itself into my life and became part of it.
I’m catching myself thinking I can’t live any other way.
As always, the certificates of appreciation:
If you want contribute to humanitarian assistance to the people of the Donbass, contact me in person through my livejournal account, through Facebook, or via email: email@example.com. Everything will be delivered and reported.