Stories From Ukraine: Yana

The following is being shared by GoAbroad’s Founder, Troy Peden, as he actively volunteers in Poland to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. To read Troy’s statement about the conflict, click here.

Additional resources from GoAbroad:

Troy Peden with Yana and two of her children.

March 8, 2022

I want to share a human story with you today. This is Yana, she has successfully made it out of Ukraine with two of her children. We spent ten hours with her and Misha (age eight) and Anastasia (age fifteen) and asked her if I could share her story and she said, “Yes, there are no secrets anymore.”

Her oldest son has remained in Ukraine and joined the defense forces with her husband. Misha would rather be riding motocross at home and Anastasia would rather be with her high school friends. Instead their journey began not far from Crimea. They said good bye to their loved ones not knowing if they would ever see them again and made their way to the train station.

At the train station they waited for two days for space on a train. They carried a child’s backpack with some snacks. Once on the overcrowded train, their rail journey took 26 hours. Then they began walking. They walked for 15 hours at a time in the cover of night. Yana believes that the group they walked with were over 5,000 women and children. When they were not walking, they were hiding underground. She showed us photos of the family underground with their cat.

I asked her if she would share some photos with me so I could share the story of her journey. She chose to share photos of her former life, her happy times and the loved ones they left behind.

There are several million Yana’s right now, starting their journey, ending their journey, or stuck somewhere along the way.

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