The agonizing life of a faculty pupil in Ukraine


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Every week earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine, Azad Mamedov’s father, feeling the struggle might escape quickly, had requested him to return residence from school to be with the household. Azad, a 19-year-old second-year pupil of economics in Kyiv, left for Dnipro, a metropolis of 1 million individuals about 300 miles southeast of the capital. On February 24, after explosions shattered the peace of Dnipro, Azad, his mother and father, and his sister escaped to the household’s nation residence, in a small village 20 minutes outdoors of city. Within the weeks since Dnipro has turn out to be a humanitarian center, and Azad returns to the town frequently, volunteering to assist the tens of hundreds of refugees coming from different elements of Jap Ukraine. Azad has been journaling and writing poetry in regards to the struggle and his expertise. I spoke with him on WhatsApp. This dialog has been translated from Russian and edited for size and readability.

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We arrived at my household’s nation home and started to in some way come to our senses. The one thought I had was that it will not be for lengthy. That we’d return to the town, to Dnipro, a few days later. 

After we did return in early March, the town was half empty. My associates and virtually all my acquaintances had left. Individuals simply left every thing behind. My girlfriend was in Ivanovka, a village the Russians captured. Solely at present, a month later, she wrote to say she was alive. She stated she was effective, and that she can be out of contact for some time.

After 10 days within the metropolis, we began to get used to the explosions and the air raid sirens. It’s horrible. Generally even when the wind blows or a motorbike drives by, you assume it’s a rocket. After we hear rockets, we instantly go to the basement till the sirens finish. On common, we keep there for about an hour. On daily basis we’ve got bombings. It’s exhausting for everybody now.

Earlier than the struggle, I used to check for half the day after which go downtown to see my associates. We might go to a live performance or take heed to poetry. On weekends, I had conferences for a venture to make college students and universities in Kyiv turn out to be environmentally pleasant. We had been planning on holding a pageant in the summertime, and we had chosen the location three days earlier than the struggle. Greater than 3,000 individuals had been anticipated however now it’s been canceled.

Azad at a convention in Kyiv in 2021 holding a “Youth for Local weather” signal

 Picture courtesy of Azad Mamedov

At present, I labored at a volunteer heart. At 4 p.m. there have been sirens, and we went to the shelter and sat for 2 hours. I work virtually daily on the headquarters with my associates. College students are usually not accepted into the military. We have now many who needed to serve, however they’re denied. So, serving to refugees and the navy helps me keep sane. Whenever you see how grateful individuals are to you…they see in you a ray of sunshine that helps them. 

Many universities are restarting now. We are going to begin learning on-line on April 4. Since we’re behind and going off schedule, our coursework shall be extra loaded than ordinary.

Humanitarian heart in Dnipro

Picture courtesy of Azad Mamedov

I’ve been writing poetry for 3 years, studying books, and appearing. In Kyiv, we shot a brief movie earlier than the struggle. My pal is a director and he invited me to play one of many fundamental roles. The essence of the story is how the town attracts you in after which simply as shortly can spit you out. We began in mid-February and solely filmed a few scenes. Now, I feel we are going to begin capturing a movie in regards to the struggle. We mentioned three storylines by which every story is in regards to the path of a single individual: somebody who runs away leaving with nothing, one other who’s richer and forgets their homeland, and one who stays to assist.

That is our motherland. We plan to remain right here. It’s higher to assist right here than go someplace else and be inactive.

I’m hoping for the perfect.

March 5

At present, getting up at 11 as ordinary, I opened the cellphone to look at the information. At present was the primary day that Kyiv and Kharkiv weren’t bombed, a proven fact that brought on each pleasure and misunderstanding. Why is it so quiet at present? Might or not it’s the calm earlier than the storm?

At present we drove to the town. Town feels half lifeless. Everybody has both left or is sitting at residence. The sensation of a half-empty metropolis causes blended feelings, but it surely leaves a vibrant second of understanding that every thing that linked you with this metropolis is leaving on the similar second. You don’t have time to actually perceive why precisely.

The enjoyment of getting into our residence overwhelmed me. Seeing your mattress the place you beforehand slept, and the conclusion that such easy issues have turn out to be pricey to you. Issues that you just didn’t discover in bizarre life. At present I take pleasure in the truth that I can sleep on my mattress and know that I’m protected.

March 6

For the primary time in two weeks, I used to be in a position to sleep properly. The pleasure with which you get away from bed, and the sense that at present you’ll be able to think about that every thing appears to be prefer it was earlier than. However the cellphone brings you again to actuality.

A pal known as me and stated that her finest pal was killed by the Russians in entrance of her mom and seven-year-old daughter close to Kyiv. Actually, these days, there have been so many tales about how civilians are being killed and this leaves a mark. In all probability we can even be frightened by each rustle with the worry of questioning if it is a bomb.

Our technology has recognized the horror of struggle. The worry while you get up in a bunker from explosions and have no idea if you’ll survive throughout that day, the worry that you just have no idea the place you’ll spend the night time, and the worry when a pal doesn’t reply you for 10 minutes and you may assume solely in regards to the worst. 

Poster at a humanitarian heart in Dnipro

 Picture courtesy of Azad Mamedov

March 7

At present delegates from Ukraine and Russia met. We take into consideration what to present [my mother and sister] on March 8 [for International Women’s Day]. Everybody says that the perfect reward on today is peace.

I known as associates, many left their cities, leaving their goals and hopes for the perfect there. When leaving, they perceive that returning won’t be to their outdated homes, which weren’t as necessary as they are going to be once they return.

At present, I additionally thought in regards to the query, is it attainable to name an individual a patriot who screams in regards to the horror of struggle whereas he’s overseas and residing in good circumstances? Simply as everyone seems to be hoping for peace, everybody says and reassures themselves that quickly every thing will finish and shall be because it was earlier than. However everybody understands, though they don’t need to admit it, that there’ll by no means be a “earlier than” once more. 


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