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The morning of February 24th started for me in Weimar with the sentence "Fucking shit, fuck, fuck it" from my friend in Kyiv.

Since then I have not slept, eaten next to nothing. I was looked after by my neighbor from Azerbaijan, who knows from her own experience what war means. I couldn't stop reading the news. I felt guilty when I had a reason to smile. I counted the days. Time no longer existed. It simply had no meaning.

What do you need time for when you are always awake? Your activity consists of scrolling the news in Telegram and enquiring if your relatives and friends are still alive, who are also supposed to be just as awake because it could be a matter of life and death.

I was under the impression that it took almost a month. In reality, it was even less than a week.

I decided to go outside. Was it solely my decision? No! I was inspired by my former classmate who went to a military hospital to help the wounded during the storming of Kyiv.

We are the same age. I sit (or rather lie) in safety and cannot change my horizontal position, and he saves lives under shelling, even though he needs help himself.

Ukrainian youth helping in the cities

"Crying never gave anyone freedom," I said to myself and went to Demo to support Ukraine. There I was invited to clean the OMA because the first bus with refugees was due to arrive there. "Yes! And many times yes!" I had to do something. If not for others, then at least for myself. I don't have to feel guilty for not suffering with everyone else.

The day came when the first bus came.

"I am 19, how can I solve the basic problems of adults? How exactly can I be useful to them? But I should not show that I am panicking. They shouldn't see me as a kid whose family is in the basement because rockets are flying into your city. They shouldn't feel that you, just like them, don't know what to do. Now you are support, hope and peace. And laugh so as not to cry".

The people are here. My people have arrived. Angry with fear, confusion, and shock.

"Angry? Is it possible to feel anything other than embarrassment? I must remember that".

The next morning, people began to open up to us. They started telling us about themselves. They asked us a lot of questions. And I didn't have any answers. I had yet to find them.

Voluntary efforts in Weimar

"It sounds loud. It sounds hard. But I'm going to do it. Do what? Go for a smoke? But I'm not a... Come on! We work together now. We should get to know each other. You're not from Ukraine? Then where did you get the matchbox?"

Oh, my God, this is it. The timeless box. The timeless design. I remember it as well as I remember myself. Who gave it to you? The woman from the border town back east? Oh... How many emotions those matches tried to suppress... How many tears they held back...

I get the impression that the woman just wanted to pass this piece of memory on to someone. But not to throw it away. That would be a crime. To stop her from carrying that burden around with her. Whether that is true or not, we will never know. A few days later she moved on. What was her name? Where is she now? What did she look like? I don't know... It probably doesn't matter. It could have been anyone. Anyone who was forced to leave home.

This box is my rage and my motivation. Its previous owner should have thrown it in the rubbish like dozens of its predecessors. It should not have become the repository of human suffering. This suffering should not have happened at all.

Voice acting: Myroslav Khranovskyi


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