Olha Fursa from Mariupol
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Good afternoon, my name is Olga Fursa. This is my daughter Fursa Ivanna Sergeyevna. We are a family from Mariupol. I worked as a primary school teacher in Mariupol. On the day the war started, we woke up to explosions. At first, we were not very scared because Mariupol is a frontline city, it has happened before. But when we read the news, we realized that explosions were happening all over Ukraine, that a full-scale invasion had begun. I got a call from my brother, who was defending Mariupol at the time, and he told me that it was better to leave the city. My brother is currently in captivity, and we have not heard from him for a year and a half.
We went to the village of Berdiansk district to an old house where we heated it with wood, went to the neighboring street to get water, baked bread. Over time, the electricity and communication went out, the stores ran out of food, and we couldn’t buy anything. We were saved by going to our neighbors and asking them what we could buy. Someone was selling potatoes, someone eggs, someone poultry, and that’s how we survived. Then we realized that we were under occupation, because tanks started driving through the village, and the village is located on the Zaporizhzhia-Berdiansk highway. Russian troops were already stationed in Berdiansk and we decided to leave for the territory of Ukraine.
It was very difficult to leave, and I remember the most terrible moments from this trip. Here is my daughter telling me what she remembers.
“I remember that we passed the first checkpoint, there were two options to leave: through Vasylvka or through Polohy. We were told that the green corridor, where Polohy was, was not a road, but an empty field, that is, there was nothing there, just a field, and a car was driving in front of us, a big military vehicle with a Z, and there were missiles, a tank with the letters Z was driving behind, and it seemed like we were surrounded. We couldn’t outrun it, and another tank was coming to meet us, then they all stopped, it seemed like we had already “arrived” and that they wouldn’t let us go any further They all started to get out with these machine guns, it turned out to be to transfer from the tank to this big car. We drove on. I also remember how at one checkpoint we gave our passports to the officer so that they could see who we were, and he looked at us and asked: You are from Mariupol, right? We said yes… He asked: Has Mariupol been bombed? Because we only hear rumors… We were very offended by this, we just said that we don’t know…. And they stood there and laughed at us…
We were traveling for three days, they didn’t let us out, there were a lot of checkpoints. When we managed to leave, we were on the territory of Ukraine, we were very happy.
We see Ukraine in the future as a prosperous country that will develop and rebuild Mariupol.
We need money for rent, we rent an apartment here, and for clothes and shoes. Thank you.