Interview with our beneficiaries 16 February 2023
We would like to introduce you to the story of our beneficiaries, who fled from the war to Poland, and who are currently living in the flat rented by our Foundation.
Which city are you from?
Both: We’re from Kiev, Ukraine.
How was your life before the war began? What were you doing?
Man: I was a handyman working in a monastery.
Woman: Before I became ill, I worked for many years as a cashier in a bank. Around 20 years.
What about family? I imagine it wasn’t easy to leave them.
W: My forty-six-year-old son serves in the army. The younger one currently lives in Żyrardów, and has been a lorry driver for three years.
Do you have any form of contact with the one who stayed?
M: Every day, almost every day. He’s taking care of our affairs, such as the bank or our flat, which he pays.
How did you come to Poland?
W: By train to Lviv, then to Przemyśl, and finally to Białystok.
What did you feel when you came to Białystok?
Both: Peace and quiet.
M: No explosions, no sirens… in fact, there were sirens, but just when the police were passing through. (laugh)
W: At first, I was afraid I thought it was an air raid.
M: During the first month of the war, we were still in the Ukraine. We heard the sirens every day, and we got used to them.
Did the Foundation welcome you?
F: We were VERY welcomed. Wholeheartedly.
How are you doing right now?
M: Wonderful! We lead a simple life; what more do you need? By pure serendipity, we’re living close to the orthodox church.
F: The church gives us a sense of tranquillity. We feel at home there. Everything’s the same: the service, the singing, and the decor. We’re moving back to our beloved Ukraine when we close our eyes. The sense of God warms our hearts. We’ve visited Częstochowa and lavra in Supraśl.
Polish and Ukrainian languages are similar, but there are differences. Judging by our conversation you’ve managed to face them. How come?
M: We took part in a Polish language course organised by the Robert Adam Foundation. Now we’re also taking part in a language course, but online. I think we’re doing quite well.
Very well, you can hear the difference.
F: We are already able to read…
M: …and we write a bit. But grammar is such a…
F: But when you like something, everything must go well. It just takes time.
Do you have any plans for the future?
M: We dream of staying here. Forever. My husband has found a job, and I’ll be looking for a job soon.
It’s nice to hear that! Where are you working?
M: I’ve got the same job as in Kiev – I’m a handyman.
F: They asked him if he was willing to go back to the Ukraine. After responding negatively, they said: “Okay, you’re in”. (laugh)
M: And that’s how I got my job (laugh) I like it very much! I got on well with everybody. In the second week, I was given a guitar.
M: Precisely! I’ve got something to play on.
Thank you so much for this wonderful conversation.
Both: No, thank YOU! You saved us!
F: May God bless you!