War Journal: Day 2, Losing Power


7am. We slept in the basement last night. It was cold. We didn’t sleep very well. Every time there was bombing we woke up and listened. I got up at 11 and then again at 3, then 4. There was supposedly an air raid at 3am across all Kyiv. It was very nerve-wracking. Sara (13months?) kept waking up at the explosions and crying for mama, even though Dasha was right there. But we made it through the night. Supposedly Ukraine took back control of the airport but the Russians are still fighting them. More Russian troops are coming from north of Kyiv on foot and in tanks. Ukraine is fighting them and slowing them down but has not been able to stop them yet. Now we are planning to drive to Ternopil as soon as it is clear. It makes me nervous to stay and makes me nervous to leave. Some of us are staying in the basement despite the cold (2C/35.6F). Others are upstairs where it is warm and run down when they hear something. I feel sick to my stomach every time I hear something.

Making lunch for the kids. (Yes I was pregnant but definitely not enough to start showing yet, that’s just from wearing multiple layers to stay warm.)

9:20am. We must stay here for now. Foot soldiers are nearby. The little kids keep asking to go home. They do not understand what is happening. Matfey keeps trying to escape and play outside. I have had to physically block him and at other times carry him back inside.

“Mama, I want to go to another house.”

“Why, son?”

“Everything is shaking here.”

(From Galya’s story of events, a conversation with Matfey.)

(I wonder how long it will stay this way. How long are we trapped here for? Will we be able to leave? Will we have to try and get out on foot? Will we have to live in the woods as some sort of resistance group? Galya is 4 or 5 months pregnant. Will this last until the baby’s born? Will we have access to a hospital, or a doctor? I ask my sister in law to send me resources on midwifery, just in case. How long will our cell service and internet last? I download it, even though we are months away from the birth. This feels like a movie, yet at the same time far more boring and far more terrifying. If we get out of here, I will never be able to watch certain films the same way again. I keep thinking of the Chronicles of Narnia, and I understand now.)

Volume is very quiet, headphones work best.

1:30pm. So tired. Between the stress and changing weather I feel like I have a cold. I’m pretty sure I don’t. But I napped for almost an hour this morning and am about to take another. We all are, once we finish lunch. We need to save our strength. 

It is strange. We can tell how close the fighting is now. We’ve gotten used to the different levels of sound. We don’t run straight to the basement when we hear something. Only 3 days ago I kept jumping when a neighbor closed the door too loudly, or dropped something in the apartment above us, thinking the fighting had started. I know the difference now.

5pm. It has been quieter today. A few shells/howitzers but mostly all we could hear was periodic gunfire. It’s weird how we consider that a good day. Power has come and gone. We would have left but we could not find a bus. We are trying to move to the school’s bomb shelter which has electricity, heating, and is dry. Some of the teen girls argued and did not want to go. They don’t think it is much better than the house. Galina convinced them to go. Mitch and I are here with a few others waiting for the second trip.

The school was full, and could only accept some of the kids. They took the others home to be with their families. Our team stays here to prepare to leave tomorrow if we can find a bus.

10pm. We slept for about 2 hours upstairs before the fighting started again. We are now in the basement. The Ukrainian army is firing against the Russians. The Russians are far from us but the Ukrainians are closer so it is loud.

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