Original by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva posted on her littlehirosima livejournal blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk
When we visited Vika in May, to say that I was shocked wouldn’t be saying much. So much has happened since then. We’ve placed her at the hospital several times. The girl wanted to live. We began a lengthy an dangerous process of restoring her vision.
A girl…A girl! A beautiful young girl.
When we arrived in Lugansk once again in July there was a heavy weight on my heart. I feared seeing her again. I saw the photos, heard her on the phone on several occasions. But…
I was subconsciously afraid to see that kid who did not wish to live and looked into emptiness.
Who has already buried herself. Sat at home and never went outside. It was sad to see such old age and indifference in such a young a body…
But now we are coming up to their house, and we see some young guy run past.
–Zhek, who’s that?
We pass through the gate and we see a rosy-cheeked Vika on the porch. The guy is running up to her.
Now, that’s a surprise. He saw us, and left in embarrassment.
–Vika, my dear, it’s us, Dunya and Zhenya. We finally got through from Moscow. What’s happening with you? ))
–Oy! Dunya! Welcome!
–Why so formal? And who’s the kid, might as well ‘fess up sooner rather than later?
–It’s Vadik, he’s just visiting.
Vika’s mom already told us earlier Vika had a boyfriend. She said that his family left Lugansk for Russia right after the war began. They maintained contact with Vika by skype and vkontakte. But after her brother died, Vika began to lose her eyesight and the ability to communicate via the internet. After she lost her two front teeth she turned inward and avoided socializing.
I shoved the gift from Katya–a remarkable girl from England who was drawn in by this story–into Vika’s hands right on the porch.
–Vika, it’s toy rabbit. Katya sewed it herself. And there is a heart sewn inside. You can’t see it from the outside, but Katya said to tell you it’s inside. She sewed it specially for you.
–And this bracelet was made by Katya’s daughter. I have one too–it was made by my daughter.
I take Vika by the hand and let her touch the bracelet.
–Fenechka! How interesting!
–It’s rubber! Now all the kids are made about these bracelets. Here, put it on.
Vika smiles even more broadly.
A whole box of amazing girl gifts. Lipstick, purse, bracelets, scarves. All the life’s necessities! A berry-shaped hairpin…
I take Vika’s hand and let her touch everything and tell her about what’s in the box. She tries to touch every item, asks questions. She wants to know the colors. I hug her.
And this picture. Soon you’ll see it yourself. Katya painted it. And here’s a little tear on the girl standing on the rainbow. Katya drew it by accident, then tried to erase it but couldn’t. A rainbow drawn by a wonderful girl…And lots of hearts.
Vika couldn’t believe it. She felt the paper with her, trying to see all the kindness and warmth that was sent to her halfway around the world.
–I can see it’s very beautiful.
–Yes, its unbelievably beautiful.
Everything was beautiful. The porch. Vika. Vadik. And the presents.
–I also have post-cards from Australia for you.
–They were sent by a woman who was born on the Donbass and who read your story. She wanted to tell you about her new country. I’ll read it for you.
Vika listened attentively. We all sat on that porch–Australia, England, stuffed rabbits, Vika’s eyesight…And the war, this war…
–And now, Vika, I have one more piece of news for you. I wrote a story about you and it was translated into German and posted on a facebook group intended to help the victims of the Donbass war.
Your story blew up the internet.
I started getting money from the Germans. Altogether we collected a decent sum which allowed us to buy insulin, test strips, syringes, and other medicines for the next six months.
We could have bought more, except for the expiration date.
I also want to thank Evelin and Mathias separately for their help in collecting money for Vika, for posting the materials, and for caring for this girl. And thanks to all those caring individuals who sent money.
Do you understand, Vika, what is happening?
Suffering unites people.
–This was sent by people who don’t even know our language. Almost every money transfer was accompanied by “Get well, Vika!”
Vika and Vadim accompanied us to the car holding our hands.
Vika was beaming.
Last time she couldn’t even walk to the door.
And then she called a day later and said she was suffering from extreme pain in her other eye. We took her to the hospital to get ready to operate on her second eye.
If you recall, she had an operation on her right eye to stabilize the pressure. A month later she was to take lutsentis (an expensive medicine which we brought her) into the eye in order to repair her eyesight. But that operation was moved due to the emergency operation on her left eye. The pain became unbearable.
The operation went well and we visited her almost immediately. We were supposed to be heading back to Moscow the next day. But I wanted to see her one more time before our departure.
–Vika, hang on! Half of Europe and Australia is crossing its fingers for you. You have to hang on and get well. Now everything depends on you. We can’t let down people who care about you! ))
Now for the reports:
Part of the receipts for the medicines:
A separate thanks to Tanya Anikina who quickly transferred the test strips which we sent by bus a month ago. Thanks to Sergey Beglov who helped us find and buy everything we needed. Also thanks to Aleksey who bought insulin for 10 thousand rubles and brought it along.
Thanks again, guys–the purchases, deliveries, searches–all of that takes a lot of time and such assistance is of inestimable value.
I won’t even say a word about my boundless gratitude to Zehnya and Lena without whom none of this would be happening.) And of course our Moscow Zhenya who at the moment is my right hand. While I’m traveling he’s helping out in all matters.))
Lena buys food for Vika in Lugansk once every several days using money which we give them for this purpose. We have a thick notebook where we keep track of everything that’s bought for Vika. All the pages have been signed by Vika’s mom.
The most important factor in improving Vika’s condition has been the improvement in nutrition: fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and milk–diabetics have a hard time maintaining their sugar levels without them even when taking insulin.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed and wait for the next operation.
The doctors aren’t making any guarantees, but there’s hope. We so want to restore her eyesight…
All of her life is still ahead of hear.
This is Vika’s health assessment before the previous operation:
I regret only one thing. That we haven’t run into Vika earlier, because we might have been able to save her brother.
If you want contribute to humanitarian assistance for Vika and other people on the Donbass, contact me in person through my livejournal account, through Facebook, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything will be delivered and reported.