Ded Maroz in Chernobyl

Christmas time is a time of love, family and peace. It is the time when it is really important to give love to people who really need it. And so over the last few days we have been visiting our babushkas and deduskas in the Chernobyl zone. It was the loveliest time and I want to share this amazing and emotional experience with you!

First we visited Maria Petrivna in the village of Opachichi. She is a small, energetic woman with a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. She showed us photos of her in her youth, to show us that she was also a malodinkaja devocka (young girl), once. She was truly touched to be given all the small presents that we had brought, she seemed to like the shawl the most, which she immediately put on her head. 

We stopped in a village called Kupovate to visit ded Viktor Pavlovich. His wife Maria Michajlivna, who we helped in the garden during the summer, was unfortunately in hospital. And here we took a photo to commemorate this moment, two young girls kissing the cheeks of ded Viktor. He laughed, and asked if he can show it to his wife later :). Photos are important for these people, they are tangible memories that will not be forgotten. I promised them to bring all the photos on our next visit.

Our next stop was to the house of Olga Temofijvna, who also surprised us because she remembered us. She has an injured leg, so we helped her to put our gifts in the right place; the blanket on the bed, food into the refrigerator and the other gifts onto the table. 

As sometimes happens, we also experienced a few difficult situations. For example, our Kolya had to act as a real Ded Maroz. He had to climb over a big fence, because the door was frozen shut. We saw that there was somebody in that house and we really wanted to give some gifts to the people living there too.

On the second day we also had a big problem with our van. We spent 2 hours in the snow in village of Teremtsi. We had to use shovels and wood to remove it. Also one dedushka had to help us. 

We sat in the kitchen with two sisters - Hanna and Sofia Oleksijivna. I don´t know how, but in a few minutes we had in our hand a glass of wine and a plate of borsch. It is difficult to refuse, because all of them want to honour a visit and drink to health and happiness. Meanwhile it got dark so Hanna Oleksijovna accompanied us with a flashlight into two other houses. Maria Prokopivna joined us too, because the last old ladies for that day, 90 year old Marusya and Maria Aleksandrivna lived far away and they had this unique chance to see each other again after a long time. The rest of the evening we spent in the company of four babuskash. Kolya laughed that he felt the best, because he was, as they say, a man blessed among beautiful women, which really made it fun for our ladies. They reminisced about their lives and what they have overcome, so sometimes tears replaced their laughter. Their life is hard and the fact that someone thinks of them, helps them and comes to visit is very precious for all of them.

Anyway, we visited almost 30 settlers during 3 days in the Chernobyl Zone. One of the best moments for me was when they sang in the Ukrainian language. Our Tanichka sang with them and I just enjoyed this moment and I tried to write it to my memory forever.

Tanichka was very empathetic and had words of consolation, kindness, and sincerity for all the ladies. For her everything we experienced during those three days were very emotional and sometimes hard, but also, like me, she really understood that what we do, we need to do. We help those who depend on Mother Nature, have had to work hard for everything they have, but still they are generous to others and ask nothing for themselves. These people prefer real human values, because when Tanichka asked them what would they wish for the people who contributed to the project, the answer was pure: health, love and peace.

This time was really unforgettable for me; the emotions, the human joy and all that I felt -I will remember forever.

We took them gifts bought from each purchase in our e-shop and the contributions from the campaign DONATE – for a piece of old sarcophagus. A heartfelt thank you to everyone for your support, which turned into a van full of quilts that will help to warm them during hard frost, towels, food and sweets, shoes for the men, scarves for the women, tablecloths and other gifts, essentials for daily life.

I personally want to thank all the people who bought something from our e-shop, contributed to the campaign DONATE - piece of old sarcophagus, Dominik – thanks to his ideas CHERNOWEAR is dedicated to such activities, Matko and Yuri, who with us are continuing to try and make our CHERNOWEAR grow, Aleksey and Andrej, CHERNOBYLwel.come for helping us with all aspects of this charity event, Ljudocka who really wanted to go with us, but unfortunately couldn’t due to her job and last but not least Tanyushka and Kolya who were here with me :)

Have a wonderful Christmas time!