| Nov 16, 2023
PAY IT FORWARD - Sergei and Vova
Vova and his disabled son Sergei are inseparable. But it’s not like Vova’s dad is overprotective. He is rather a friend, support, advisor and as he himself admits, he learns a lot from his son – humility, patience and endurance. Such „healthy” love between father and son is a great gift. And both of them are aware of this.
When the war broke out in Ukraine, Nadia – Vova’s wife and Sergei’s mother happened to be visiting her sick mother in another region. – We went through a nightmare. It was Thursday, February 24th. The sirens were screaming from 4 a.m. We thought it was an exercise or maybe a fire. But it was a bomb raid unfortunately. The Russians did not spare Chernihiv. Bombs were exploding day and night. We spent a week in a bunker without water or light and that’s where the help came for us in the form of evacuation of families with disabled children. We had only 2 hours to pack but first of all, we had to make the most important decision in our lives – to leave without my wife, because at that time the regions’ borders were closed so Nadia couldn’t return home and therefore she wasn’t able to go with us to Poland. She made the decision for all of us: „I will stay with my mother. I can’t leave her. You two, go to Poland” she said. „My whole world collapsed” – Says Vova.
The prettiest braids in the village.
„I’ve met my Nadenka 40 years ago!”. She lived in a village where Vova went to harvest, dig or cut hay for his grandmother. – Grandma was worried that I was still single. One day she told me: „Vovka, there is a beautiful, good, nice and hard-working Nadenka in our village.”. Well, I once laid for her outside a store and when I saw her white braids, I knew immediately that she would be my wife. These were the prettiest braids in the village. Well, I just fell in love! – recalls Vova.
They got married quickly. They inherited an old, wooden house from Wowa’s grandparents, which they renovated together. They put blue shutters and geraniums in the windows. They still live there today, in Chernihiv. Apart from the house (which fortunately is still standing), there is also a beautiful garden. This is Vova’s greatest passion. Colorful asters, tulips, roses, forsythias, peonies, hydrangeas, cornflowers bloom, as well as herbs like basil, marjoram, thyme and vegetables – tomatoes, carrots, cauliflowers,, cabbage, cucumbers, colorful pepper and even potatoes. Vova plants all this by himself, he sows it, then nurtures it, harvests and together with his wife they make preserves for the winter. Isn’t this life beautiful?
Their son Sergei is 37 years old. He studied at a military school where he had an accident and damaged his spine. He has paresis on one side, walks slowly, gets tired quickly, but how cheerful he is in all of this! Only thanks to his parents, their persistence and rehabilitation, today Seryozha, as his father calls him, is very independent. He has just returned from a three-month course during which he learned to speak Polish very well, and is currently looking for a job.
- What the PAY IT FORWARD Foundation did for us cannot be described in any way. Here we were surrounded by care, help and warmth. Moreover, I was guided in such a way that I have just finished a vocational training school, thanks to which I hope to find a job. I have become independent, I feel responsible for myself and my loved ones, I speak Polish and have a lot of inner strength to act. One day, I will show the world what I can do as a disabled person – says Sergei proudly.
Vova’s father is already proud of his son. In the past, they had never been apart for long. I was a bit afraid of my son’s leaving. We have our own rhythm. Every day I help him get dressed, I always prepare something for him to eat. We shop together, watch matches or news. And there my son is on his own. „Well, I was afraid” – says Wowa. Sergei came back safe and sound and as if he had been reborn. And Vova bursts with pride in her son and replants the geranium into a larger pot. He has such a knack for flowers that his geraniums bloom even in winter…