Littlehirosima: Helping the Donbass, Part 8 [with thanks to Fort Russ!]

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Original written by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva and posted at her littlehirosima blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk and originally posted at South Front. September 14th, 2015
It is becoming more and more difficult to write reports with each trip.
The volume and scope of aid has grown larger every time.
We are already leaving to go again, but I’m still struggling to write the report from last time.
We made our 8th trip in a car packed to the brim with aid item, medicine,
and a wheelchair. It may sound silly to write of a wheelchair being packed to the brim, but so be it. Deciding not to rent a van was
the best decision we’ve made in the last six months.

Our trip there was not without mishaps, about which I’ve written before. We’ve never had a trip without mishaps.
But maybe this time everything will go smoothly.
Only recently did I realize that I’ve written little about WHAT exactly we do and HOW we do it. That would probably take a book, maybe more than one.
Everything is so mixed up in my head that I have neither time nor
strength to sort it all out. It’s all mad and endless rush. The customs
gave us the usual problems, but not having a cargo vehicle with tons of
food helped.

One can buy everything on the Donbass except for medicine. I’ve written
elsewhere about the catastrophic situation concerning access to drugs.
Everything else can be bought on the spot, and in some cases for less than in Russia at wholesale prices.
The problem is that people don’t have money to buy anything.

Therefore we purchased all the food, cleaning and hygiene supplies such
as diapers and suchlike on the spot in Lugansk using the funds that were
sent us.
We’ve stopped delivering the customary humanitarian aid, namely canned meat, pasta, and grains.

The region’s problem is not that there is a shortage of food, but rather
that they’ve had to live for more than a year without access to fresh
food, namely meat, dairy, and vegetables. That’s what we delivered this
time. Many children suffer from avitaminosis and they are constantly
ill. Some people haven’t seen fresh milk for over a year. We always try
to help those who are the most needy.

Every morning in Lugansk looked approximately like this:

Then we put everything into presorted packets, unless we were delivering
to an institution such as an orphanage or a home for the elderly.
In the course of these months, we’ve acquired all the necessary skills
associated with loading, distribution, and jigsaw puzzle assembly. So if
the worst comes to worst, we’ll always find work)

Every morning we got whole piles of receipts (clickable photos
below). Many places did not issue receipts, only their own papers of
some sort. I’ve posted everything I could find, please forgive me, but
I’m running all the accounting and reporting by myself ((

Naturally, it would have been more convenient to order and buy
everything in one-two places [in Russia], rather than do all the running around
ourselves. The receipts would have been more presentable too, not these
pieces of paper found somewhere on the market issued by grandmas
screaming they don’t have any official seal. But this way, all their food is
fresh, we can save money by not renting a van and, most importantly,
these days it’s impossible to bring such a huge volume of food across
the border unless you are an official foundation. Some of the receipts
were published in earlier reports.
We bought the diapers at local markets. Yes, the receipts surprised us, but we had no choice.

Cleaning supplies:

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Food from markets

We ordered a lot at various stores. Prices are in hryvnya, so to get the ruble price multiply by two:

It just so happened during our last visit that the majority of funds
at our disposal came from outside of Russia, which shocked me. They
money was sent by foreigners who have no relation to our country. They
include my constant readers from Fort Russ (Americans and Europeans), as
well as Germans who are members of the facebook “Humanbataillon Donbass”
group. Thanks to Sasha Grodskiy and Mikhail Yasinskiy for the
translations into English and German! Thank you, those of you who are
far from our country. Your concern ought to be an example to all of us.
Humanity knows no language, registration, or zip code.

Moreover, I just realized that many individuals have become constant
donors. Thank you, one and all. Many individuals made donations while
concerned whether it will get through. I know that feeling and
understand it very well. Therefore it’s important to me that people
trust me.

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Thank you everyone who helped buy necessary medicines and delivered them
home, who brought various items, who sent packets. Lena Zhukova, Tanya
Anikina, Sergey Beglov, Katya Shkenyova, Aleksey Levichev.

Thanks to everyone who is giving us moral support and is sending warm
personal messages. Who is worried for our health, for my sanity, and who
sends us gifts. It moves us to tears.
It would it impossible to provide aid without all of you.
One more thanks to my team)
Zhenya (the Moscow one), one of the most responsive and concerned people I know. And, yes, the word’s best race car driver.

Zhenya (the Lugansk one), who asks not to post his photos for
understandable reasons, is a rock. Zhenya, with his nerves of steel,
always counters my insane decisions to distribute food while the shells
are falling. He’ll go help even when running a fever or suffering from
the flu. Then there’s our clever Lenochka who keeps track of everything
we do for the people we’ve taken under our care–Vika, Kutsenko, Lyosha.
Who monitors all the purchases and distribution when I’m not in Lugansk.
She has wonderful memory and fantastic green borshch (in other words,
what I know as shchav soup and not soup, but so be it).
Lena also has hair down to her waist which makes me bite my fingernails and many other body parts)

When we all drove down to Pervomaysk, where we delivered a lot of medication.
Pervomaysk has long become a home town for me…
In the photo below I am with Olya Ishchenko, the acting mayor of Pervomaysk
for the time being. If people like that were in charge everywhere, our
lives would be much better. The lists of people needing aid were put
together by the guys in the commandant’s office at Olya’s request.
We’ve been to many places and I can tell you without any hesitation that
few people care about the city as much as she does. She’s not only a
great hero. She’s a beautiful fragile woman, an individual with
unbending will who genuinely cares about people like few others. And she
does even more.
These individuals are some of the many whom we brought life-saving
medicine. My friends from the commandant’s office delivered the rest.
I’ll put out the photos later.


Pervomaysk was forced to close the majority of communal cafeterias,
which fed the city for the whole year and where we delivered aid, due to
an order from above. Now there are only two such cafeterias open,
unfortunately. But Olya and others said there was nothing they could do.
They held out to the last–I saw that with my very own eyes.
Therefore this time our aid was more focused on specific individuals. We also helped several families who were in a tough spot.
For example, Yelena Anatolyevna Shevchenko, two children, husband retired. No work, they live off welfare.

P7277873.JPG
We helped a dorm for those inhabitants of Pervomaysk who lost their
homes. This is the second time we are delivering food to them.


I already wrote many other reports.
We helped the psycho-neurological dormitory in Lotikovo with food,
hygiene products, razors, cleaning supplies. We delivered food to an
orphanage in Krasnyy Luch. We delivered care supplies to the retirement
home in Rovenki. That’s where we delivered the wheelchair, to be used by
Anna Kostikova, born 1982. She is disabled since childhood and was sent
to the retirement home straight from the orphanage. Thanks to Sergey
for delivering the wheelchair.

We delivered crutches to Nikolay Milyakin, born 1960.


We took under our wing Lyosha, a young man who became disabled and forced to live at a retirement home.
Vika is a constant and significant item on our aid roster, a girl who
suffers from diabetes and whose eyesight we are struggling to save.
Also Sergey Kutsenko who’s also under our wing, a single retiree whose
house in Khrashchevatoye was completely destroyed and whose leg was
amputated.
In addition to Kutsenko, we are delivering aid to the retirement home
where he is living. They have many bedridden there. Unfortunately I
haven’t been able to write about this in detail.

Diapers and sweets for the bedridden.


We also started to help the little Kirill who was abandoned by his
mother. Zhenya and Lena have already visited him at the hospital many
times.
The biggest problem here is that after I wrote about that kid I received
four replies from people willing to adopt him on the spot. But right
now it’s impossible due to legal reasons.

We also helped a few moms who are in a difficult situation in
Rovenki. For example, Anna Nikolayevna Platonova. Her husband was
wounded, they have a 6-month daughter.


Part Eight is a notional title, because our aid is no longer limited to
our actual visits. We are constantly sending money and medicines to
those under our care, which is something you can read about on our blog.
I’m also sending money to be distributed among the needy, such as
families with many children, the elderly, etc.
Without me noticing it, the Donbass wove itself into my life and became part of it.
I’m catching myself thinking I can’t live any other way.
As always, the certificates of appreciation:

If you want contribute to humanitarian assistance to the people of the Donbass, contact me in person through my livejournal account, through Facebook, or via email: [email protected] [Paypal donations can be made to the same [email protected] address]. Everything will be delivered and reported.

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