Mar 07, 2022
When you weave a camouflage net, you only see the hands of those who work nearby and the patterns they do. I keep silent most of the time. There are no people I know around. I can feel what’s around me by touch. Khaki fleece, an old beige raincoat (there are no such fabrics now), a brown T-shirt, a black knitted skirt, and a gray shirt. All this is cut into ribbons, which we use to braid the nets. We knit in these gibberish our prayers and calls for victory. Because why do we need these skirts, T-shirts without victory, without freedom, without peace? Stormy sky chiffon is under the fingers. It feels great by touch. It comes from a life where there were dresses, hairstyles, makeup and high heels. I slow down the weaving because I want to feel this taste of peaceful life longer. Someone passes behind me and spreads the smell of perfume. This mixture of fragrance and chiffon is like a portal to peace, tranquillity, and harmony. I want to draw, create, just breathe, look in the sky from my window, wander the streets of Kyiv, and drink coffee. But instead of my harmony, I must draw endless chaos with ribbons in order to confuse the enemy, to catch his evil energy and not let him into our common home. This is the smallest thing I can do to be useful for the country at this moment. I quickly finish my piece of work, because I want to read more about our heroes and write that I hug and love every Ukrainian. And everything else – dresses, perfume, heels, concerts, exhibitions, and coffee will come back after our victory. Without winning, I’m not interested in them. Glory to Ukraine! My God! Take care of every Ukrainian and the country! My God! Close the sky above us!
Mar 08, 2022
Ribbons of cloth are everywhere. And their threads: on my clothes, under my feet, on my head, in my nose.
I sit or stand and weave nets side by side with the other women. As for men, there is an elderly security guard, a young hipster, and a boy of about 10. We can’t see each other’s faces, just the hands because we are weaving. There is no time to look around. I don’t know anyone, but I’m sure that these people are my Ukrainian family. That’s why I don’t keep an eye on my things, although the clothes I’m wearing are all I have left from my life until February 24.
The war accidentally caught me in a safe city. And I really miss my home, my friends, and Kyiv.
A woman weaving beside me says she can hear the dogs howling. We can hear them too, and we bring them food and pet them. Because the street dogs come running to us, cuddling, looking into our eyes, grabbing our coats. They want to know what’s going on…
The woman asks then, “Where are you from?”
Her hands freeze. She stops weaving the net, I look at her and see her frightened eyes.
– It’s alright.
We weave again in silence.
Then my neighbour can’t hold it anymore:
– If you need anything, just let us know.
That’s how I thought of myself as a refugee for the first time, although I did not run away. Because as long as I’m in Ukraine, I’m at home.
And even though it’s painful, disturbing, scary – it’s easier to breathe here. Here, the land gives us strength. It’s where the dearest people are. Here, we are at home.
Our enemies will perish. And we will remain here to embrace each other, celebrate the victory, rebuild our beautiful cities, sow wheat and raise our children.
Ukraine will win.
God is with us!
I’m hugging you all!
Thank you for your courage and incredible strength!
Ukrainian Text by Angelika Rudnitska, artist, teacher, public figure. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team – Mar 08, 2022