| Nov 20, 2023
And what will happen to us now?
PAY IT FORWARD - Sergei and Luba
They remember exactly the outbreak of war in Ukraine because they ... slept it off.
They were awakened by the phone ringing early in the morning. It was the older son calling: "Mom you know nothing, Putin has just started the invasion of Ukraine!" - We got up quickly, and did not even drink coffee that day. All of us, still in our pajamas, ran out in front of the block of apartments where we lived and there all its residents gathered - scared, panicked. What will happen to us now?
Luba is 60 years old and has been taking care of her 33-year-old disabled son - Sergei, for six years.
- Sergei is not independent at all. One has to take care of him practically non-stop. But he's a good dear boy and my son, so despite fatigue and bad back I take care of him with love, says Luba, Sergei's mother. Sergei worked as a cab driver before the accident. He had a fiancée, plans for the future, a dream to build his own house ... One day he had a course like all the others, and yet completely different ... he was giving a cab ride to his friends to the lake area. And since the day was hot his friends persuaded him to bathe in the lake. He didn't want to, because there were already others waiting for a taxi ride. But the heat won. Sergei jumped headfirst into the water and did not swim out of it on his own again....
- At that time my husband and I were on a trip in Odessa that is 700 km from Zhytomyr.Suddenly a phone call that Serhija had an accident. "We immediately cancelled our trip" recalls Serhiy's mother. Since then, their lives have completely changed. Working as a cab driver was no longer possible, the fiancée gave up and left and Serhiej's family had to start living in a new reality. They slowly put everything together until the outbreak of war in Ukraine from where they had to flee. They both arrived at the Doctor Piotr Janaszek's PAY IT FORWARD Foundation just on Saturday (September 10). The journey was long, dangerous and tiring. Zhytomyr, from where they fled, was shelled every single day..
- At first, they warned us about bombing, but now it's bombs flying when and where they want to. The last ones before leaving for Poland fell as I was cooking dinner, says Luba, a very kind, warm, welcoming woman. In their case, hiding from the bombing was not easy, because the building in which they lived had no basement, so there was no shelter. Each of the residents added something like a vestibule without windows to the front door and there they waited out the shelling. Sometimes a whole night in a windowless room, two by three meters wide!
They arrived in Poland in what they had on them, one suitcase, an old backpack and a bag filled with documents. But they were warmly welcomed by the Foundation and its Ukrainian charges.
- That warm, hospitable and sincere welcoming, by Poles and Ukrainians, makes a person want to live. You run away from the war, without knowing anyone, without knowing the language, you leave your loved ones, your home, all your possessions. Every person is terrified. And you come to the Foundation where you feel at home. Thank you dear Poles for your help, says Luba and does not hide her emotion.
Her son Sergei adds:
- Dad was left there alone, with his brother and family. We were very worried about them but it was impossible otherwise. Dad has to guard the apartment because more and more thefts occurred. What is more, his brother won't be let out of Ukraine, and his wife and son want to stay with him. But I hope that the war will eventually end and we will all meet together, says Sergei.
Here in Konin they are safe and taken care of. Sergei is being rehabilitated, already going to the pool and learning Polish. Sergei's mother, touched, still, thanks everybody for everything and assures that she will pray for all of us.