Since having fled Ukraine due to the war against Russia, Marina’s story continues to evolve as she settles into her life in Poland.
Habitat for Humanity revisited Marina, 2 months following her arrival in Warsaw, to see how much her life has changed since then.
It is the middle of Spring in Poland. The weather is beautiful and all trees are blooming. The door to the balcony of Marina’s apartment is open and there are birds singing outside. In the living room, Kristina plays with puzzles and Marina seems much calmer than when she first arrived from Ukraine. As she prepares cups of tea, she speaks with us about how her family’s life has changed in the 2 months since arriving in Poland.
“If I’m spending time with my kids, looking at nature, the beautiful spring and not thinking about what’s going on at my house then I feel good. We got used to living here, the children go to school – kindergarten, we have a daily routine. Life is becoming similar to what we had there.”
Marina’s life is very busy. She works remotely and raises her two daughters alone as her husband remains in Ukraine. She is in daily contact with her loved ones, gets up at 5 o’clock and works until children wake up.
Over the past few months, Marina has built new friendships with people from Ukraine and Poland. Marina’s daughters are enjoying spending time outside. They love to visit playgrounds and parks and they also like to do some sightseeing.
“We look on the map and decide where we can go, we visited the ZOO, the Lazienki Royal Park, and the Old Town”
One of Marina’s new Polish friends has a dog. This has given the family much joy as they join her in taking him for long walks around the town. Marina`s eldest daughter, Kristina, particularly enjoys walking the dog because she loves animals and greatly misses her own pet chinchilla, Buscia, that they had to leave behind in Ukraine for her father to look after.
Krisitna showing a drawing of Busia – her beloved chinchilla
“If I am with my children and we spend time together, I often forget about those difficult earlier moments, my children make me feel much better”
With a fresh cup of tea in hand, Marina walks to the window as she thinks of home with sadness.
“All the time my thoughts are on what’s going on in our country. The kids keep asking, ‘how much you can listen to the news?’ I get up and turn on the news, I do the dishes whilst I listen to the news. Before bed I listen to the news until I fall asleep in anticipation of hearing the news that will bring hope for our return home.”
Marina says that sometimes it is very hard for her although she realises that many people are in an even more difficult situation than she is. She understands that many others did not have the opportunity to leave the country and receive as much help as she did. And she is very grateful for that.
“This apartment is our real home and we feel it especially when we come back to it after weekends away. We feel very safe and comfortable here. Each of us has their own place here. Thank you so much that your organisation exists.”
Marina’s Story – When the war is over
Marina moves from the window and starts to smile again at the prospect of the war ending soon.
“I have one plan that war will finish in September. And we can return home because my younger daughter Alicia will return to first class at school. We have a very good teacher there, and they want to be there. I don’t know if my dream come true”.
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