Have you listened to my podcast episode Babies, Bombs and Bravery, an interview with Kateryna, a mother sheltering in war torn Ukraine?
Kateryna has asked if we can speak each day that it is safe for her to talk. She says talking to me gives her a wee bit of ‘normal’ from her situation and if she knows we are scheduled to talk she will have to stay alive.
Of course she has much bigger reasons to stay alive besides sharing her truths about what is really happening to her people, she has a husband and two precious babies – a 5 month old and a twenty five month old.
This is our next conversation.
As we spoke on zoom last night, I could see the building where Kateryna is staying, shaking, due to the vibrations of battle blasts; sirens were going off and announcements could be heard constantly on a radio. The radio volume was turned down so we could talk, as her family listened to the messages.
You can hear the stress and urgency in Kateryna’s voice, but you can also hear her incredible resolve to stay with her husband and support the elderly and people too vulnerable to flee or fend for themselves.
She says, fleeing would be suicide anyway, there are missiles, landmines and troops invading homes and dressing in civilian clothes so the citizens don’t know who is a local and who is a soldier who might hurt them if they leave their homes at all. Civilians are shot on sight!
In our conversation, Kateryna told me she is watering down her baby’s formula to try and make it last and her relief that her 5-month-old has started eating family foods, along with her fears that food will run out soon. She has enough milk for her toddler for another two days, but each time her husband leaves the home to drive and find food she doesn’t know if this is a last goodbye. Yesterday he went to get food then, half an hour after he arrived safely home, the road he travelled on had been blown up.
Trigger warning – none of this is easy listening, but it is one real mother sharing because she wants the world to know what is happening. For Kateryna, speaking out is her way to contribute to her country because she can speak fluent English and she has access to the internet.
We can share Kateryna’s stories and make sure she is heard. I will be speaking to this brave mother each day she is safe, and links to our conversations will be posted here as a continuing blog.