Yesterday I left Kyiv with tears in my eyes, it was hard to leave having been totally immersed, living there for a month… the speed of emotions and actions have been very intense; loads happening at the same time including simple actions that can become complex on this imposed war reality…
The scene of leaving my dear ones in the train station as well as the many families saying bye to each other, forced to be separated by this situation is just not possible to explain in words, so painful.
The last couple of weeks I haven’t been able to post regularly as there were layers of difficulties involved, day after day. The continuous missile strikes on the energy infrastructure was felt a lot as it began from non-electricity from time to time, to having no wifi connection, no data connection in the phone to also no phone coverage in my neighbourhood even (no electricity supply on local stations and antennas). And what to say about the proper black outs during night time, it feels very apocalyptic to be in total darkness in a city, it is a very deep but also weird feeling. (It seems now it reached to the point that black outs are going to be for around 12 hours to balance out the electricity available for the city of Kyiv).
This is a picture from The Guardian yesterday, Russian missiles impacted on a local important electricity station in Kyiv. I saw this picture while I was at the train, it is Obolon, the neighbourhood where I stayed all this month, even in this situation I felt like at home there. I can locate my walks towards market, underground stations, and other life I had there between those buildings.
This brutal non sense invasion is still happening day after day. This explosion was very loud, louder than all we have heard, my mates told me. The result of this is that adds also more layers to the difficulties including no water supply in many places in Kyiv, especially in Obolon, at least temporarily, for now seems resolved but until when?
My body has left Ukraine for now and I am in Poznan (Poland) but my heart is still around and I will keep connected in ways I could help from the distance, until I come back.
PS: I have written some more reflections in these times that I haven’t been able to post online yet, also some drawings I made. I will share them at some point soon.
I write again under air raid sirens in the whole country, as usual these days.
As you might have seen in the news, electric system has been hit in several places in the whole country, also in Kyiv, and today we don’t only have air raid sirens but also alarms of electricity shortage which says that at any point electricity can be cut off (which has been happening already, at least where I am).
These days have been harder as I am grounding, even more, what this whole thing means, realising how vile (or whatever other word with such sense) can be such continuous bombing with various aims including, for sure, leaving millions of people with no energy supply. The winter here is very tough normally and without heating system, gas supply and/or electricity can become unbearable and deathly. I don’t know what you would think about it, for me I feel it like a proper genocide from here.
So far, it is not that cold and not so severe problems regarding electricity supply, but for sure it will be if bombing power stations keeps happening every day, as reparation work and the strategy on shifting/decreasing electricity usage won’t be enough.
A couple of days ago I was having a meeting with my dear friend Olesia, a walk around the city, a coffee, it very special seeing each other again… then sirens were on (as it happens). As we were engaged in a very deep conversation we even didn’t realise about sirens but how I knew about them was because a friend of mine from Spain told me that Spanish TV said that sirens were on in Kyiv, live broadcasted. It is weird how news representation can be fluctuating that much from such immersive focus to non, however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen anymore.
I would like to share some images of that day, after that moment, when I was for some hours at Lva Tolstogo underground station in the center of Kyiv, taking this place as shelter, sharing space with many people who gathered there waiting for the attacks to end.
Being surrounded like this is very powerful but also stressful and emotional at many levels. That day a group of teenagers gathered together to sing, they sang for hours. This music accompanied us in those waiting hours, it was very very important for many of us who gathered around.
Still I don’t reject a single moment that I am here, I am fine dealing with the situation, trying to be useful while living what I chose. I hope this text keeps adding something for those who read. I keep thinking that I am not such good writer and maybe such testimony isn’t useful but I want to share, at least, some words.
As some of you encouraged me to keep writing, I will try to share some more notes even if I don’t consider myself a good writer.
I have been already around in Kyiv for ten days, it has been a process of adjusting to a different reality: learning how to proceed in moments of possible danger, also “getting use to” hear air raid sirens (every day since I got here), trying to understand more what is going on from within, other logistics and work but the most important, living the simple life things while caring for each other (a lot).
Again, on Monday, the day has been very intense since very early morning regarding bombing in Kyiv, happening also every day in other places in Ukraine (sometimes forgotten in international news). Something that still strikes my mind is not only the horror such actions create but the scale of this whole thing. When I see that air raid sirens are active in the whole of Ukraine simultaneously (a lot these days), a country that covers approximately 600,000 square kilometers, happening for more than 7 months already I can’t even process such scale information, even from here.
What happened today is shocking, again, bombing from the air as a form of “statement” to keep imposing power over what?? people don’t deserve this, not here, not anywhere.
I feel that long train journey I took to come to Kyiv was like a month ago as a lot has happened since then. I remember the long queue in the border in Przemyśl; many women and kids returning, at least temporarily. Then just two hours later, in Lyiv train station, many men and other family members were waiting to see their families coming, some of them with a big smile, some others with tears in their eyes, some others nervous to see their dear ones while holding a bunch of flowers… these images will always remain in my memory in the same way as the most profound emotions I had when hugging my dear ones here, waiting for me in the train station in Kyiv.
Everything I said might be redundant but I am just trying to express from my experience which is the only perspective I can talk from in such complex ground.
And just to say, very important for those who care about me, I haven’t rejected a single moment of being here since I arrived, I am fine.
So yes, I am in Kyiv and I am very aware of where I am.
Now, I am one of the humans who inhabit this territory temporarily (under my own choice with important reasons behind). For those who know me well would know that I am taking from a place where I can openly speak, having being involved with people in Ukraine for years, this year, deeply, from abroad, till now.
Therefore, I would like to support awareness of Ukrainian reality with a testimony of what has been happening today as you all have seen in the news so far, I won't go into that but I will just say what many Ukrainians and other people in war zones have said before, sorry if this is too "simple" repetitive story but well, this is what the reality is.
I am writing this under air raid sirens in Kyiv, I don't think many people understand what it means being at risk in your daily life, the power of those sounds telling you that your life can be in danger. Today, in addition, there has been other sounds added to the "soundtrack": A LOT of missiles overflying, counterattacks and explosions that I could hear myself (also happening in many other regions of the country). I have experienced conflict zones before but this is something that even you can be mentally prepared for, it is not an easy thing to put in practice. This of course has many horrible consecuences as you have seen in the news.
Why I am writing this is nothing to do with worrying my people, I am safe and I don't want people to care about me more BUT what I want is to make awareness of something that is VITAL which is empathy and understanding from humans to humans. This morning a Ukrainian friend said "civilization is broken", well, I believe so, still I can't believe such horrible actions can take place, for the sake of creating horror.
I am very tired of superficial conversations, all sort of polarisation created by international news and cold attitude towards something that is much more than words, it is lives of many humans impacted by war. I believe that caring actions and solidarity should be driving human actions and really, this should be implemented more in our daily lives to make institutions respond from what people care about, which should be by all means LIFE.
I took this photo yesterday, the view of the city of Kyiv, it looks beautiful, very romantic scene however when I was there it was the first time I heard the sirens in Ukraine and today this exact place has been bombed by a russian missile.
So if this 'simple' reflection moves you or worries you, just implement such feeling in your daily life and if you would like, take action, in whatever way... this unjustified horror has to end.
I send you all a big hug
The month of October I am in Kyiv, Ukraine. This decision comes from having being involved with networks in Ukraine for years, being an artist working with other local artists as well as running workshops in various places in Ukraine.
The first time I was in Ukraine was in Donbas in 2016 to take part on the project Ukraine Lab where I met many people who believed in dialogue for peace who are still profoundly engaged in civil society in Donbas and the rest of Ukraine.
In this blog I would like to share some reflections, they might be very direct, maybe not the right words, I am not a writer, however, it is coming from how I am experiencing being here, in this complex reality at times dangerous where millions of people are immersed.
Train journey in Poland.
Queue at the border in Przemyśl (Poland).