Came to Gdansk with her daughter. Her son stayed at home. Oksana's brother is in the Army Forces of Ukraine.
What is your specialty?
I am a hot shop confectioner.
Tell me how did the 24th of February go for you?
I had a date the night before. We talked until almost 4 am. We even heard the first explosions, but didn’t think it was that important. We joked that the war had started, we had to collect everything valuable, children and go. We said goodbye and parted. In the morning I got up to go to work, because the shift was not canceled. I live without a husband. The eldest son lives with his father, and my daughter and I live in a nearby village. I woke my daughter up, and she went: "Mom, don’t make a fuss out of nothing, everything is fine". Well, I went to work. At the entrance to the city, the driver said that the trip was canceled, after disembarking at the stop. I saw chaos, a man ran and shouted: "War!". I stood in the middle of the road and was confused. I realized that I needed to come back home, because the child is there. I jumped out on the road, started waving my arms, stopped the man on the bus and drove to my daughter. On the way I called my son, everything was fine with him. I ran into the house, woke up the baby again, and began to get dressed. I was in shock and in panic: I was running in the house, threw things in a backpack, documents, medicine. And at that moment something exploded on the street. A window flew out of the house. It was about 7 am. They hit the railway station and the military unit next to us. I got scared and sat down. In 3 seconds I took a cat and we ran to the neighbors. They have a dormitory and an old dining room. Below it is a three-room basement. Abandoned and cluttered, but all of us started cleaning there. We lived in that basement for 22 days. Sometimes we ran out for food, cooked on the street, just to breathe some fresh air, and charged phones. There was no light, no water, no gas in the basement. I got sick because there was humid, and then my daughter got sick right away. That's why we came out of the basement and spent the night at home. It was the 26th of March. It was very scary. ..Every time there was an alarm during the night, I wrapped my daughter in a blanket and put her on the toilet. I was on the floor and sat waiting. When it finished we went to bed. As soon as we went to bed, the siren alarm went off. And so in a cycle… And when our military went to Bucha and began publishing photos of the consequences, I thought about leaving the country. My son had another opinion, he wanted to stay. I argued with him for about a week. For more than 3 days I couldn't talk about it with anybody, because I would cry immediately. My daughter is a fighter, but when she read about Bucha, I saw fear in her eyes. She came up and said, “Mom, I'm not afraid of missiles and grenades. If it arrives, it will arrive. I'm afraid if they come here". At this moment I understood that I couldn’t do anything in this situation, and I decided to leave my home.
What has changed in the worldview since the beginning of the war?
Everything. Absolutely everything. What seemed like a problem, an obstacle, is nothing compared to what happened. Absolutely any problem can be solved. I am more than sure of that. But you can't fight with death. And when it's not up to you and you can't do anything… While leaving Mykolayiv I understood that I take one child, and another remains there. My day begins and ends with news. I keep checking when my son was online last time… My heart stayed there.
How did you get to the border? What were these feelings?
The journey was long: to Odessa by bus, to Lviv by train, we crossed the border by bus. I was with my daughter and took my friend's son. She went to work in Poland this autumn. We left on April 12th, and on the night of May 15th we crossed the border. I couldn't find a place to live for a long time: firstly, my friend recommended a shelter in Gdansk, after we spent 4 days in a gym in Gdynia, another girl from Ukraine helped with housing and finally I rented an apartment on June 1st.
What are your plans now?
As soon as they say you can go home, we will be the first to go. I realized that I am a person who can't bear distance. I want to be with my children. I'm uncomfortable, I want to go home. Here I am standing now like a child,who is learning to walk. You understand that you have power, but at the same time you are helpless.
What makes you happy right? What fulfills you?
My daughter. She speaks less and less about the war, began to laugh, and did not shut herself down. I will never forget her eyes when we went to the mall in Odessa, she went to the toilet and I stood waiting. The cleaning lady came in, accidentally hit the door with a mop and it echoed. She came out with frightened eyes and said: "Mom, I thought the rocket flew into the house!". At first, even flying planes scared me, but I understand that it is already coming out of me.
What would you advise yourself in the past?
Appreciate. Appreciate everything you have. There are situations in which I would act differently. A lot was lost because I didn't appreciate something. Now you value everything completely differently. I lost too many people because of war. Those, whom I considered close people and for whom I was willing to do anything, found themselves out of this situation. And help came from those people from whom I did not expect.
Ukraine will survive. I believe in it and I know it. I met one woman, in the city center, and had a conversation. She was from Kherson. She asked me: "Will we win? ”. And I answered her: “Of course we will win! And we will set the table from our Nikolaev to your Kherson. We’ll make vareniki with borscht, gather the whole big family and celebrate ”. We need to believe. My brain does not even accept another option. I know I will be back and everything will be fine.