Hi friends, please say hello to our Ukrainian friend and Dr. Suzanne’s translator.
Slava, can you introduce yourself to our friends?
“Sure, my name is Myroslava or Slava for short. “Myr” meaning “peace”, and “Slava” meaning “glory”. I bet this name will be one of the most popular names for newborn girls when Ukraine wins the war:) I am 19 years old and currently working as an English tutor and plan to continue my university education this autumn. My family consists of my mother, younger sister, and grandma. We also have our relatives from Kyiv with us now, as they fled to Khmelnytsky due to the full-scale war.”
Slava, even though Russia has been “quietly” invading Ukraine for years now, what is your memory of this current full-blown onslaught?
“On 24 February, I woke up at 7 am when my mother called me and briefly said that missiles and airstrikes hit across Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv. I didn’t really have time to think about it – I just followed a list of tasks I had to do: collect the documents, money, and some basic food and water into one bag; apply sticky tape to the windows which would prevent the glass from shattering dangerously. I was shocked. Reflections came more than a week after the invasion.”
That’s scary. We can’t imagine what that’s like. You’re brave Slava. Now after over 114 days, what do you think about Russia?
“I perceive Russia as the epitome of a person who commits genocide, murder, rape, theft, causes severe bodily and mental harm, and, despite numerous evidence of these crimes, still says, “It’s not my fault, how dare you blame me?” I am really confused when people blame only Putin for this cruel war – it’s the collective responsibility of all Russians, who obey him silently. There’s many posts on social media of “ordinary” Russians, who show their imperial mindset and even mock the victims of the war. So, as you can see, Putin is not the only person responsible for the war – rather, it’s the “collective Putin” composed of millions of Russians.”
Slava, can you tell us a little about your time working with Dr. Suzanne?
“Sure. I really enjoyed working with Suzanne as her interpreter. She’s really proactive, resourceful, flexible, encouraging and organized. We gave many different presentations and did both day and night shifts together with doctors. Suzanne and I worked in the Emergency Department, ICU, Department of Surgery. The doctors noted that they found the Butterfly flexible and easy to manipulate on a patient’s body. Most of them were very excited about its use with trauma patients. Working with Suzanne was very precious and an interesting experience for me. I am really happy that A Ripple and @global.response came to Ukraine, and I am extremely thankful for everything you have done here. Hopefully, you will also have a chance to visit Khmelnytsy and other cities during the peaceful times.”
Millions of young women like you have fled Ukraine. Why are you still here?
“I feel it’s my civilian responsibility to volunteer here during the war. It’s hard for me to imagine myself somewhere else now, during these tough times – and that’s also the reason why I stay.”
One of our favorite things about you Slava is that you take the air raid sirens seriously, where as most people have gotten used to them and do nothing. Why?
“I always take shelter when I hear an air raid (either underground shelter or a corridor with no windows which is two walls from the outside), because you can never know the exact direction of the missile. I’ve realized that I’ve completely forgotten what it is like to feel safe. The government advised us not to take warnings lightly, and I follow this advise. In addition, I haven’t done everything I wanted to do in my life yet, so I think it’s really better to take shelter:)”
Yes, Slava, you have so much more to experience and enjoy in your life. Keep taking shelter. What do you imagine your life to be like in 5-10 years from now?
“It’s difficult for me to say due to the ongoing war in my country. Staying alive and not losing interest to live, explore and enjoy life would be enough.
I am sure that Ukraine will win the war, but I am not able to make any predictions when it will happen. Different generations of Ukrainians pay the price of dignity and freedom by blood, sweat, and tears. And there is no way out except to proceed till the end.”
Thank you very much Slava for talking to us. We think you’re an incredible young woman. You’re very smart, extremely carrying, and incredibly brave.