Original written by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva and published on her littlehirosima blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk
This is Irina Alekseyevna Doroshenko
She lived through the hell of Debaltsevo.
We encountered her on a city street by accident. She walked up to our bus while we were unloading aid for a woman suffering from skin cancer. She quietly walked up and touched me with her hand.
–Fellows, are you bringing humanitarian aid?
The granny, like a hunted animal, looked at us with hope.
–What do you have?
Unfortunately, we can’t help the entire city…For God’s sake, we can’t…
–My house was destroyed, come, I’ll show you.
–Come in. This is my house. Or, rather, was.
There was. A house.
Have you ever seen wholly burned out houses, with remnants of the past life–rusted-out beds, stoves?
Have you ever seen one together with its owner?
Even the most energetic of them become disoriented as soon as they step into “ground zero.” As if their souls were stripped from them, and she started to run from corner to corner in search of something.
–When the house was destroyed, everything around was on fire. The daughter was telling me: “let’s go, let’s go”. Nothing but flames around, and tanks.
Her street suffered more than any other in Debaltsevo. In the line of fire.
The granny confusedly walked on the floor covered by the remnants of past life.
Listen to her. It’s just two minutes…
Irina Alekseyevna carefully collected all the surviving dishes.
She collected all the shell fragments and placed them in the corner.
The dishes are out in the open. It’s been 8 months since the February slaughter.
It was washed by snow, then by rain. Today the dishes were caressed by the Sun.
Irina Alekseyevna is carefully protecting her dishes. But is not moving them. And isn’t using them.
–Where do you live? With the neighbors, relatives?
–I live here.
There’s a shed next to the house. An entryway and a room, completely filled with belongings and furniture. No room at all.
–Where’s your daughter?
–She lives nearby, in Cheremushki.
–Why won’t she take you in?
–Where would she? The four of them, including the husband, live in a one-room apartment.
Here, like an idiot, I couldn’t hold it in and let it out:
–How can that be? It’s cold here, and there’s no room!
She turned toward me and penetrated me with her gaze. So much pain and sadness in that gaze.
She put her hand on my shoulder and turned away.
These dishes, the small cups, plates, are still before my eyes.
Long unneeded, but carefully gathered in the midst of chaos.
Touchingly cared after by the houseowner who walks past the debris of her house every day.
If you want contribute to humanitarian assistance to the people of the Donbass, contact me in person through my livejournal account, through Facebook, PayPal, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything will be delivered and reported.