Day 34. Parents.
About Mum, Dad, and the russian invasion.
From a message to a friend, 13 Feb 2022.
“Spoke to dad. He complained that some people are panicking now (by panicking he meant that lots of people are buying flats in Lviv, Western Ukraine, that's considered a safer place). I said:
- But we have one of the biggest armies in the world at our doorstep. Of course, some people are scared.
- Well, if you have a huge dog running along the fence around your house and it's barking at you from there, that doesn't mean that it's gonna bite you.
- But what if that dog breaks through the fence and bites?
- It might do that. But it’s going to end up biting off more than it can chew so it’ll choke on you and die. And if we have to be the bone that the Kremlin regime has to choke on in order to die - then so be it.
He said that if they don’t invade they’ll destroy us in other ways - they have the leverage to squash us economically and with cyber attacks, they have resources that we rely on, all sorts of new warfare they can use, but they won’t leave us alone.”
On the 24th February, the night when the full scale invasion began, I called my parents the moment I was alerted about what was happening. Dad said goodbye to me, just in case. He told me to be strong and not to assume that they were dead if I lost contact with them. They didn’t know if they would have reception by the morning. Or any other means of communicating with me. That’s a conversation that no one deserves to have with their parents. It felt like the whole world was collapsing on my head. I spent about an hour in a state of shock - despite knowing in advance that this was going to happen. There is nothing that can prepare you for this.
I cannot even begin to describe what goes through your mind when you're trying to explain to your dad how to adjust security settings on his phone to help him stay safe, and you hear the air raid siren go off on the other end. He says he can't do anything on the phone because he can't find his glasses and the line breaks, leaving you on your own with that sound of the siren in your head.
This is my mum Olena. She is a very talented logistics specialist who makes sure Ukraine DAO truck drivers know where they are going and get to the destination and back in the most efficient way. Currently, she lives in a room with 50 other women and their children. It takes her a long time to get to a place she can work from every day. She makes sure she gets there in any weather conditions - they’ve often left best to be desired. I’ve barely spoken to her since the invasion began because of how busy she is helping other people. Dad mentioned to me the other day that the kids who live in her room really look forward to her coming “home” every night because she brings them candy. He told me of the very moving scene he saw of her walking to her new accommodation and those kids looking out from the window waiting for her.
This is my dad Viktor. He makes sure that the trucks remain operational, that they have enough fuel and are properly maintained and repaired when needed.
I was planning to tell you more about the specifics of their work today but they are very busy the last few days and it's been difficult getting hold of them. I should hopefully manage to speak to them later today so I’ll try to do a little interview with dad for Drftng With Ukraine ❤️
Where are they now?
Fast forward one month, my parents are now in Western Ukraine helping to deliver humanitarian aid. It’s critically important work because there’s a lot of humanitarian aid sent but not enough trucks/logistics people. They currently have 8 trucks there (with Ukraine DAO stickers on them🇺🇦), drivers for those and an accountant. They have been welcomed there and are getting a lot of help from people whom I’ve never met. I would never know those people without our DAO’s community. But that’s a story for a separate post :)