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  • Writer's pictureJRS Romania

I realize that JRS is a family

The day the war began, I was with my mother in Cernauti for some medical tests. I found out the terrible news on the way home, on the train. Suddenly, people started screaming, and I realized there was something wrong. When I looked online, I found out...

During that time, my son was at home in Odessa with my mother-in-law. I was very worried about him. I called and told them to go to my sister-in-law's house, where I gathered the whole family to decide what to do. I was hoping that everything would be over in a few days. I realized after a week that it would not end and would actually get worse. Even though they didn't understand what it meant, my son and my sister-in-law's daughter began to fear the sounds they heard, the bombs in the distance. We were thinking of traveling to Moldova, but we realized it's not safe there either. So we decided to go to Romania. During that time, I was 3 months pregnant, and my husband, who was not in the country, advised us to leave as soon as possible, both for our safety, but also so we could undergo all the medical exams since some tests indicated that the pregnancy was not normal.

I fled to Romania with my son, my sister-in-law, and her daughter. We traveled by car until we were near the Romanian border and then walked for 3 hours to get into Romania. Unfortunately, my parents could not come with us because my father is only 58 years old and does not have permission to leave the country. I am very afraid for them, not just because of the war, but also because winter is here and they don't have heat or electricity. They continue to work there, so at least they are occupied. I went back to visit them in June, for 3 days and it was terrible: the streets were empty, the shops closed, alarms announcing bombings ...

My first stop was Galati, where I was greeted by a colleague from my workplace. After staying there for one night, we decided to go to Bucharest so I could have the necessary medical tests to carry the pregnancy to term and have a healthy baby. My friend Nichita, who had already arrived in Bucharest, helped me get in touch with Catalin from JRS. From Galati, I wrote him at 10 o'clock in the evening and he told us that we could travel to Bucharest the following day. While on the train to Bucharest, he wrote to me to ask me what we would like to eat and advised us to take a yellow car from the station (a taxi), which would be paid by JRS. I thought it wasn't true. He was like a father waiting for his child at home with hot food. I started to cry…

We arrived at JRS where a colleague of Catalin's was waiting for us, with ordered food. It was exactly what we needed, a person who welcomed us warmly, without asking for anything in return. Then we were led by her to a hotel where we stayed for 4 nights, without paying anything. I kept waiting to be asked for money for these services, but it seems that I had too little trust in the people there; they didn't ask us for anything. Later, I stayed for 2 months in an apartment offered for free by a woman who just wanted to help.

We had to look for a more spacious apartment when my husband came in June. We were helped by JRS to find a reliable real estate agent. They later helped us pay the rent and additional money for daily expenses. The apartment was chosen by me and has everything we need here, and as a bonus, it has 2 bathrooms. There are not many like this in Ukraine.

I managed to find some balance with so much support from the JRS and I was able to do all the medical investigations I needed for my unborn baby. I was very afraid of the moment when I would give birth because my whole family would not be with me, as it was with my first child. Fortunately, my husband, who was not in the country when the war started, managed to come to us. I gave birth prematurely but everything is fine now and we have a strong and healthy child. We were just 2 when we left Ukraine and now we are 4. My husband is with me and my wonderful newborn, Gleib is fine. Boris, my eldest boy is in a Romanian school right now as an auditor but he also attends an online school in Ukraine. He likes it here and now he understands what is happening at home. Probably won't return home because of the war. We are thinking of settling here, for safety and because we have met wonderful people on whom we can rely. Romania welcomed us with open arms. Even if the war ends, I don't think the situation will be much better in the country. I don't think so...

Also here is my sister-in-law, whose daughter attends a kindergarten for Ukrainian children. She and her parents live together in an apartment with the Jrs' help.

For me, JRS initially meant a big organization with small angels. When I first met them I was a single mother with 3 children, my son, my sister-in-law, who is like a child to me and with too little life experience for her difficult situation and her daughter. And I had to take care of them.

Now, after spending so many months here, I realize that JRS is a family. I always turned to them for any questions and I received an answer, maybe not immediately, because I know how much they worked all this time and how many people they helped, but the answer was always given.

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