Vika. ‘Happiness is electricity, hot water, food and no bombs’

Vika is a delicate girl dreaming of peace. Her story is the story of a grown-up who already knows what it means to lose a chance and of a very strong personality who knows exactly what the happiness is.

We continue publishing the stories of people who represent the variety of united Ukraine within the series of articles “Together”.

My performances on the stage and my workouts were my life. I woke up, went to school, went to the gym, slept in the bus because I was constantly tired, went home, made my homework, and a new day came. Last year, everything happened spontaneously. I just stopped taking my dance classes and I was constantly saying to myself: "I quitted for a while, it’s just for some time." That last year, I understood that I would be an in-demand dancer if I had trained much, but the chance is lost now.

I love very much the inhabitants of Sartana [Donetsk region] for our unity, for our being the patriots of Sartana, for our love for Sartana. Now we are bound by the desire not to leave. We all have beautiful houses. People have been working all their life to build a house, and many have nothing but their house. It is very painful when your house is being bombed.

I left for two weeks, but then I realized that I wanted to go home. I have returned home, I live without electricity, but I'm home. It is a pleasure to drink from my cup and sleep with my toy. Happiness is when you are not bombed, when you have electricity, hot water and food, when you can meet up with friends and make plan for the next week at least.

I do not consider those who left Sartana to be traitors. If it is more comfortable for a person to move, it is a human life and no one has the right to decide whether this person should stay or leave. Leaving is the most difficult thing, which I cannot get used to. I’ve got used to bombing, but leaving, the feeling that people are far away in different cities and countries hurts much.

When Sartana is being shelled, people from different cities call and ask: "How are you?" When someone goes on vacation far away, they will not calm down till they reach us and know that we are fine. It helps much to know that someone needs us, that our relatives and friends need us. It helps to live, to do something.

For me, tolerance is the world without war.

There is a village of Chernenky near Sartana, the hostilities are continuing there. It is very difficult to get there, you will need permits. I used to go there to visit my relatives for two or three days every summer. I love the nature there - the hills, very clean river, and you can climb on the rocks. There is a shop and several streets in this village. I could just go out for a walk at night. I really love this place, you do not need to think how you look like there, you feel just relaxed. It was like a trip to the sea, but I had a river there.

The exhibition was created by A. Lenchovska, K. Kreyderman, A. Voitenko, D. Verstak in cooperation with the Anne Frank House (Netherlands) with the financial support of the MATRA program in 2011. The exhibition was held in 17 cities of Ukraine in 2011-2014.

Photo credit: Dana Verstak, Yana Korobenko

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