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Support Story - Pauline

We are posting a series of articles with stories from our employees in Ukraine in their own words.  Below is one of those stories; if you'd like to read more, click here.

 

Pauline 

On February 24th, I woke up early because I had the morning shift. I started my laptop and saw messages from my friends in our group chat. I was still a bit sleepy, so I asked them why they were awake. They replied: “Did you hear that?”. Exactly at that moment I heard explosions. Then, I understood everything. 

I opened the work chat and wrote to my colleagues. All of us were stressed out and lost. We did not know how to work, where to run and what to do next. 

On February 25th, we evacuated. I remember how I started packing my suitcase. I was crying because I did not want to leave the apartment… It would mean that I might not come back. I was so lost that I was even thinking about making my bed and cleaning some pots before leaving. Then I got a call from my friend: “Don’t waste your time, no one cares about your bed and you shouldn’t. Run!”

We spent some time in Western Ukraine. This whole time my friends from Poland were begging me to leave the country. Eventually, I agreed. My mom refused to leave Ukraine at the very last moment, she came out of the car, hugged me and asked me to take care of myself. 

I crossed the border with Slovakia where my friend’s friends picked me up. It was about 1 am, so I stayed there for a night. Next morning my friends from Krakow came and we went to Poland. It was weird to see a peaceful country, people running their errands… It was weird not to hear sirens and explosions. I wasn’t really sure if I had the right to enjoy life there.

In Krakow, I started volunteering. I was pretty active before that in social media, donating money, spreading awareness, helping people to find food, clothes, accommodation, etc. In Poland, I started packing boxes with humanitarian help and weaving the military nets. 

On my way to Poland I knew that it would be my temporary stop. Although my friends told me that I could stay there as long as I want, I didn’t want to bother them and decided to go to my grannies in Germany. Since I was volunteering in Poland, I wanted to do the same in Germany. So I wrote to the consulate of Ukraine saying that I speak five languages and I may be useful at least for something. They invited me for a meeting.

Once I came to Dusseldorf, I visited the consulate and met the general consul. I started doing some tasks there: calling different fire departments and asking for used cars that they could donate; writing different letters and posts for the consulate FB page and website, helping the consul with the speech. Apart from that, I was still working and providing support for the FTM users.

I still have the feeling that I’m not doing enough. I also really want to go back to Kyiv. However, I guess the best thing right now is to focus on what I’m currently doing, help my country as much as I can and wait until it’s safe to come back. 

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