Saturday, May 28, 2022

Ukrainian family rebuilding life in the region after fleeing the war (6 photos)

Anna and Alex Tirtishna, along with their young children, find salvation in Barry; ‘When we dropped the kids off at school, everyone was welcoming. Everyone here said ‘Welcome to Canada’ and a smile. It’s like honey’

After their country is invaded by Russian troops on February 24, 2022, Anna and Alex Tyrtyshna do not know if they will ever be able to return to their home in Odessa, Ukraine.

The couple, along with their two children aged six and nine, arrived in Barrie on April 17, after they were forced to flee their home near the Black Sea to Italy. After a few months in Italy, the family was able to get the proper documents to come to Canada, where they hope to find work as soon as possible to begin slowly rebuilding lives lost due to the war.

While the Russian invasion came as no surprise, the couple admit they did not expect it to take over their homeland so quickly.

“We thought it might be, but we thought maybe it would be more local and not all over Ukraine. We live in Odessa. It’s a beautiful city located near the Black Sea, close to Moldova and Romania,” says Anna it is said.

It was Alex who heard the first bomb detonate shortly after 4 a.m. , And the couple realized that war was officially on their doorstep.

“We heard (a) big bang. Then a few minutes later there was a second (explosion). We were shocked,” she says, turning on the TV and learning that Russia had indeed declared war on Ukraine.

They quickly decided to grab their children, packed some in bags and ran away as quickly as possible.

After bringing the kids and some minor items into the car, they attempted to withdraw cash from a nearby bank machine, but were only able to access the equivalent of $220 (CDN) from their account.

He then began a 44 kilometer journey to the border crossing at Mayaki, Moldova. , And, hopefully, for safety.

“We did not take so many (many) clothes. Now it’s fun because I only took my expensive clothes. Why I did this, I don’t know. Maybe I had in mind that if something (happened) I could sell it, ”Anna looks back.

Staying together

Once they arrived at the border, the family found themselves joined by a lineup of cars belonging to their fellow Ukrainians, more than 30 kilometers long, trying to get out of the country as quickly as possible.

“Some people now ask us why (we) were in such a hurry to go to the border. we were scared. At first, we thought that maybe the war would be (only a few) days or weeks and we could return, so we didn’t take that long,” says Anna.

They were able to cross the border as a family of four because the government had not yet implemented martial law, which banned all men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country to join the fight against Russia. was put.

“We crossed the border (and) after an hour, none of the men could do that. … We understood that if my husband could not cross the border, I would not leave without him. We’ll be together.”

“We are not soldiers,” says Alex. “We don’t have experience in any army and I don’t have very good eyes. We (knew) if we were out of Ukraine, we would be more useful. No one can understand how it is. You have (two) ) are brains: one is that you should go back to Ukraine and the other (is) you should do everything you can to protect your family and your children in order to earn money … so that you can get some back to the family And friends and the government (for help).”

Although Alex’s parents initially did not want to leave Ukraine for fear that they would not be able to support themselves, the couple were eventually able to persuade him to join Italy for five days in the war. Anna’s mother, brother and their two children are also in Italy, although her father, who is 58, had to stay behind to fight.

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“He is safe, thank God, and we hope he remains safe,” she says. “Our whole family lived in Odessa, and we were all so close to each other. Now we are all in different places.”

language barrier

Although they agree that it would have been nice to be closer to the family, the couple did not know the language, which was a major obstacle to their ability to find a good job, he says.

“Our job is not like that of an engineer or an electrician or a mechanic who can work without language. Our job is sales. For a good job, we need to know (the language) fluently and we understood that in Italy we cannot do that, ”explains Alex.

During the two months the family spent in Italy, the couple received significant support from the government. , as well as the Catholic Church , Which helped him and his extended family find emergency shelter, food and everything they needed. And although they would be eternally grateful for that support, they didn’t like to feel helpless.

“We stayed for 30 days and did nothing. We don’t know how we can help them. We are strong, young and we can do the job, but we stand there on their shoulders and do nothing,” says Anna. “We thought maybe we could try to get a Canadian visa because we know English. We can speak and work… and that would be a better job for us than Italy. We decided to try.” “

To move to Canada, they had to sell the only thing of value they could survive on: their car.

“It was very difficult for us because we sold it for twice the market price,” she says, “but we think and hope that it was a very good move, because we bought tickets and here we are. “

‘Like a bad movie’

In Ukraine, the family led a comfortable life, with a house about 500 meters from the sea, a good job and a luxurious car.

Now, they don’t know if they’ll see it again , Or even if that house still stands.

“Maybe it will perish. We don’t know. We had our parents, we had pets, friends, we had a future … until (February 24) when a person decided that helped us needed,” says Anna. We don’t need any help from (Russia). Now we are 7,000 kms away from our home and we have to start our life again from scratch. It’s like a really bad movie.

“In Ukraine, we don’t want this. We just want to be in our country,” she adds. “We want to be like European (countries) and we want to be democratic countries. We want to be with NATO. We want to be safe in our home without Russia. We don’t want to fight. If you go to Oktirka or Mariupol’s If you know about the news, it’s a terrible situation.”

Since leaving Odessa, the building where Alex worked has turned into a pile of rubble, as well as the apartment building of a friend’s nearby, killing several people who knew the couple.

“This rocket crashed into the building where my friend lived. He had a flat[there]and eight people including three months (old) were killed.”

coming to barrie

Alex and Anna both have family and friends in Moscow, and they told barry today They are struggling to understand how many Russians are able to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the truth of the situation.

“They live without any connection to the outside world and social networks. All television and journalism systems work from their government,” he says.

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“We told them that now we do not have a house, we have nothing. Russia attacked Ukraine and (they said) ‘we tried to save you’. The German people didn’t even know what had happened, and they thought Hitler was a leader,” she says. “It is very difficult when you cannot talk to your relatives. … They don’t believe us. ,

Despite the fight trying to convince some members of their family to understand what is going on, the couple acknowledge that not all are in support of the Russian Civil War.

Unfortunately, many people are too afraid to speak up.

“They are afraid of their government. If they don’t agree (with Putin), they go to jail,” she says.

hey canada

It’s been two weeks since the family came to Barry, and it’s certainly bittersweet when they admit they’re relieved to be safe.

“(Our) kids started going to school… and that is great for us because we have more time to find jobs. We can go to an interview and go to meetings,” Alex says.

As difficult as life has been for them, they know it has had an even greater impact on their children.

“They don’t know English. Our daughter can only say ‘Hi, my name is Kiara.’ (On Monday) they woke up and were scared what they should say or do. It’s hard for them. Sometimes They think it’s a big trip, a vacation. Every day they ask when they can go back home. We don’t know what to tell them,” says Anna.

The family chose Barry because they had friends who immigrated here from Ukraine many years ago, and thanks to the generosity of strangers, they have a safe place to call home while they rebuild their lost lives. let’s begin.

“They’re so wonderful. They help with everything,” Anna says of her “host,” Russ Jeffries, and her family.

After a nearly 24-hour journey, exhausted and hungry, the family of four arrives at their new home, Barrie, to have bread and some food for breakfast.

“Usually for all people, it’s normal. For us it’s like magic. When you run away from war, you try to find a safe place for (your) kids. You don’t know what you need right now What needs to be done, but you hope that you will get a job, start earning money and buy what you want from your past life. When you open (the door) and see the food, it Happens really well,” Alex says.

Dropping off your kids on the first day of school on Monday was another heartwarming experience.

“When we dropped the kids off the school, everyone was welcoming. Everyone here said ‘Welcome to Canada’ and a smile. It’s like honey,” says Anna touching her heart. “It convinces us that here we will be safe. We hope the worst is behind us. We are alive, we have health, our children are safe and Almost our entire family is safe.”

lifelong lesson

Anna and Alex say that they have learned a very important lesson from the war and that is to live each day to the fullest.

“It doesn’t matter what car you drive. It doesn’t matter what clothes you have on. You should live your today now,” says Anna. “My husband drank seven or eight years ago Bought a very special bottle. We decided we would drink it on our 10 year wedding anniversary (March 28). Glass bottle (is in) Ukraine.

“I told Alex that we don’t need to live our lives for tomorrow. We have enjoyed every moment and every time we have with our friends and family today. It’s not sunny today, but you’re still alive.” , you have a safe place and can eat, drink and your kids can go to school.

“It’s the most important thing in your life.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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