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Our lives have changed forever since Feb. 24th, 2022.

Every day we got up at 4 a.m., earlier than ever before, and every day life seemed to pause. On March 22nd, 2022, I decided it was time to leave. Fear gave us no more rest, and the daily search for food drained all our strength. But where should we flee to? Into the unknown? It was like the feeling of standing at the well and having to jump in, but down below there was only darkness...

The situation in Ukraine by the beginning of the war

We went to Hungary, where a friend of ours had an apartment temporarily available. It was a long and difficult journey. On the train from Ukraine, we traveled in a dark wagon. The conductor turned off the lights for safety reasons. It was scary, missiles were flying over the whole country. There was only one question in my mind, "Will we get to our destination or not?" In Hungary, we lived in a room near the train station. But we were still in the dark and had no idea where we were, what to do, and where we were going, we were completely stressed out... We realized that it would be a long time before we would be allowed to return home and that only uncertainty was ahead of us. Everything was new, the unknown city, the language, strange people. Our three suitcases full of belongings were all we could bring from our past.

I was looking for clothes for my little baby and asked for winter clothes in a Facebook group. A girl from Budapest, Dora, responded to my request. She offered to meet with me and give me her son's clothes if the clothes would fit. At that moment, I was fine with anything. I met her at the playground and she handed me the things and also gave me money so I could buy whatever was necessary. Dora was a very kind, good-hearted girl with a young son and a mother who was sick and in the hospital for examinations at that time. I know for a fact that she needed money, but she and her husband gave us a sum that I normally would not accept. But I realized that accepting this help was my only way out. I am very grateful that Dora helped us and we were able to buy food for a week's stay in Budapest.

The situation for the Ukrainian refugees in Europe by the beginning of the war

But the most surprising thing is that she did not disappear from our lives. A week later I told Dora that we were going to Germany. And Dora told me to meet her at the bus stop. We made an appointment and I showed up at the meeting point. Dora told me how her mother was doing and what she was working on. She gave me a "magic box" for my trip. Before I knew what was inside, Dora had already left for work (it was her lunch break). I came home and opened the box. Inside was 50 euros for the trip and a necklace. "A little souvenir from Dora," I thought. But I looked closely at the jewelry, and it was a gold chain. Oh horror, my mind was racing: there was no way I could have accepted such an expensive gift from her.

I wanted to return it, but Dora sent me a text message:

"There is a war going on in your country, and if it can help you survive, sell it and save your life and the lives of your children."

I cried all day long. For me, this act of Dora was heroic. The most important thing is that I was a complete stranger to her and she (despite the difficulties in her family and with her mother's health) took care of all of us and gave us the opportunity to survive.

The next morning the children and I took the train to Munich. Their talisman is still with me. And I am honored to show you her gesture of goodwill with this jewelry. I know we will meet Dora and I will give her this talisman when she needs it as much as I did at that moment.

Voice acting: Inga Baiier


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