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"I can't just sit idle here". The story of Katya from Vorzel

"I can't just sit idle here". The story of Katya from Vorzel

I met Katya in the lobby of a cozy pilgrimage center that receives internally displaced persons. It seemed to me at first that the girl was working here dealing with organizational issues because she held a notebook in her hands and generally made an impression of a busy person. A little later, I learned that Katya is now a right-hand manager of the center.

Before the war, Katia studied law at a university in Kyiv. The desire to understand the laws and operate with regulations started when she was still at school. Katya does not consider herself to be arrogant, but, according to her, she has always loved justice, and that made her popular at school. Katya used to combine her studies with working in a model agency, which made her especially happy. I had a chance to look at her Instagram profile, and I must say that it is quite unusual to drop out of such industry by getting packed in just half an hour, with a sports suit and a pair of sneakers in her backpack. However, I noticed Katya's make-up and a certain models' ease in her hand movement.

Katya lives with her mother and father in Vorzel, Kyiv region. More than four months have passed since February 24, when russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The first battles in Hostomel, where the russian forces occupied the airfield, gradually spread to adjacent settlements: Bucha, Vorzel and Irpin. Having spent several days in the basement under fire, Katya's family began to run out of food. Katya said that at one point they heard a rocket attack in a nearby yard. The explosion knocked out the door and the windows of a neighbor's house. After that, Katya encouraged her family to leave the village immediately.

I was impressed by the calmness and resilience of the girl, who described her route to Lviv in rather restrained way. I didn't want to ask about the details because it may seem that there is no time for emotions during the war. Of course, there are situations when this might be true. Katya channeled all her energy into protection of herself and her family, so her brain still does not allow her to experience emotions to the fullest. When I asked Katya to give me a tour of the Caritas-Spes Pilgrimage Center, she started talking about her everyday life here.

Katya has no days off in the center. "At first, I felt as if I was in a children's camp — the territory here is so reminiscent of my childhood. After about a week, I adapted and got acquainted with everyone. But at one point, I decided that I could not just sit idle and wanted to help. I started talking to Oleksandra (the center's manager). She asked what I could be helpful for. Oleksandra asked me to create a table where we could fill in the information about newcomers. So, day after day, I started to do more and more assignments, and I liked it. Now I am the right hand of the manager”, — says Katya. — “I already know everyone here. It's easy for me to meet people. I know who came from, and what is their story. At one time, I realized that people need to spend time together and wanted to help with that. So, our residents and I started to organize concerts — art shows, drawing classes. The children needed something that could be filled with their restless energy. I remember looking for a dress for a girl among the humanitarian aid... Then I found out that there were professional teachers who wanted to teach our children. We have developed a mini-school program. We also want to organize activities for adults.

My university studies have resumed in an online mode, but now I seem to be gaining more experience here. Of course, I have free time in the evening, my friend and I like watching a movie before bed. There are also air raids, and everyone goes out into the corridor. It's amazing how they stay calm and continue to tell each other different stories, even sing songs.”

At the end of the conversation, Katya shared that she followed the news all the time and was very worried about her home. She also posted memes pretty often (these is my observation). The other day I asked Katya about her plans. The girl and her family were going to return to the deoccupied Vorzel. Fortunately, Katya's family house was not damaged.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Caritas-Spes Ukraine has provided shelter for more than 20,000 people and continues to receive people who have to leave their homes.

Please help us help others.

14 May 2022
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