It’s okay with the priest, but it’s better at home anyway

St. Matthews, took refugees from Lviv under her roof. It is a family of six. Natalia is Marta’s mother and Ira’s sister-in-law. Marta has a little daughter, Solomia, who recently started walking. Ira, the wife of Natalia’s brother, is also a young mother. She came to Poland with her 2.5-year-old daughter Roman and her grandfather. Part of the family lives in Ukraine in Czerwonogród, 15 kilometers from the Polish border, and some in Kulki, tens of kilometers away. They came to Poland on March 17th. Why are you so late?

– These are not easy decisions. Nobody wants to leave, especially to strangers. We met for a long time, but the moment came when we had to leave – says Natalia. – The situation was getting worse. Our last day in Ukraine was terrible. They bombed us near us. We’ve seen and heard it. We were so afraid, there was nowhere to run. Difficult decisions had to be made.

Natalia admits that a few days ago she thought that she would take her daughter and go to Poland. But after a night the missiles were flying over their homes, I went to the store and bought a suitcase. They immediately agreed with the family in Kolki that they were on the run together. When the decision was first made, Ira with the child and grandfather was brought to Chervonogrod. Then they continued their way together. The transportation was organized by a friendly nun. It was she who helped organize the stay.

– The problem was that we had a dog, a female to be exact. I couldn’t leave Dina behind because she was definitely going to die there. Fortunately, the priest in Pabiannis agreed to accept us all – adds Natalia.

Eight people were driving two cars. Each of them can take his personal belongings bag. Pack some clothes.

– I did not think of myself only about the child – says Ira. “It’s hard to pick out the basics with the thought that you might never go back for the rest.”

There were some toiletries in the luggage. And nothing more.

– You do not think of books, pleasures, emotions. Only Marta took her nursing uniform in case she goes to work here – adds Natalia.

They came to Papianes at night. Father Bowie was afraid of hunger, so in the morning he hung a bag of bread and sausages on the doorknob. They remember it as a lovable but also fun item to greet.

Paramedics family

Natalia is now retired. In Ukraine, she worked as a paramedic. She was in an ambulance. After this profession, I retired sooner.

“The general count in the ambulance was normally like two,” he explains.

Marta and Ira are nurses. They have the appropriate education and experience. Marta is now on maternity leave. Ira also managed to leave the country because she had a young child. Had it not been for the children, the two women would have been called up for medical assistance in the army. Grandfather is more than 70 years old and for this reason he was not drafted into the army.

They live in the church building

The family lives in a building in the courtyard next to the rectory. They were given two rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a hall for their own use. One of the two rooms is divided by half a bookcase so that there are three rooms. Together they are about 50-60 meters long.

– They are very independent. When they showed up, some things were missing. Over time, it turned out what was needed and was bought and spread thanks to the generosity of the parishioners – says the parish priest.

– The priest brought us a refrigerator, a washing machine and a vacuum cleaner – Natalia does the counting.

Things are delivered

It will be difficult for them to find themselves in the maze of administrative matters. Father Bowie Coutina is here to help.

– The first thing is to get the PESEL numbers. You must go to the photographer and take the photos that are submitted with the applications to the Civil Affairs Department. It is not easy to schedule a PESEL scholarship. You can wait in line for up to several weeks. We were still lucky. We arranged the grace of God and thanks to the officials we quickly arranged everything – says the priest.

Then they went to the bank. There too, despite all the staff’s applause, some time has passed. Mandatory account for Ukrainian citizens. The money that refugees receive from our country will come to them.

– The bank arranged everything competently – says the priest. Everyone is coping and you can see that they want to help as much as possible.

Another thing to do is to visit the municipal social welfare center at ul. Gdanska. Here, you can apply for a one-time allowance of PLN 300 zlotys per person. In addition, mothers Marta and Ira deserve to have 500+ polish. So it was necessary to go to the Social Insurance Institution.

– You fill out orders everywhere. Although translating the documents into Ukrainian, it is still difficult. It is not easy for us to find ourselves in a maze of regulations, let alone the Ukrainians. For example, we had to create an account on the counter and on the Internet PUE ZUS – says Father Bowie.

It turns out that there is also an EU fund from which you can also receive support. Mrs. Natalia tries to find out. He knows he can report it online, but he still has to deal with it in person in Warsaw or Krakow.

There is also an allowance for people helping refugees from Ukraine. Those who welcome guests receive PLN 40 per person per day. The application must be submitted to the Ministry of Social and Economic Affairs at ul. Naruto. However, it is not known when the money will come.

Folded papers, money is awarded. We waited for them for a while. They came last week – says Father Bowie. This money is for its upkeep, for basic expenses like food, but also for water, electric and gas bills.

Ukrainians residing in the Diocese of St. Matthews does not use the gift depot on Orla Street. They managed on their own.

They will get to know Poland

When they came to Pabianice, none of the people could speak and almost did not understand anything in Polish. Marta and Ira registered with the county employment agency and attended a Polish language course. They were sent to the “Polish on time” school in the Mujahideen. Asca. It is an intensive study of the Polish language for 6 hours a day. They are still participating in it. They understand almost everything, but they do not speak very well.

Nyonella went to the sisters’ kindergarten. At that time, Solomega stayed with her grandmother Natalia. They want to give it to nursery.

When Marta and Ira learn Polish well enough to look for a job, they will definitely do it. They would like to work in the profession, but they can also do something else. In Ukraine, Ira worked as a nurse in the hospital.

– Everywhere they ask how knowledgeable the language is – says the woman. It is very important to learn to speak fluently. Then it will open up more possibilities for us.

How is it here?

Natalia is ready to return to her country at any time. She wants nothing more than to end the war and see her loved ones unharmed.

I keep everything in my bags. If they say we can go, I’m packed – he says. – The priest is good for us, it is quiet here, but I want to come back anyway.

They cook for themselves. They eat whatever they want, from Ukrainian and Polish dishes. Most of them are similar. Ukrainian women prepared Easter breakfast according to our traditions. They ate together.

They say they are not bored. There will always be something to do. They walk in the evening. The number of degrees, from 16,000 to 24,000, proves that they walk a lot. Most often they go to Boulevards and Słowacki Park. They shop in Kaufland because it is the closest. They do their shopping in CH Tkalnia. The priest took them to Ikea. They were also in a library near Lodz Cathedral.

– All the people are good here. We thank the Poles for accepting us in this way, summarizes Natalia.

They miss…

They left their relatives, and above all their husbands, in Ukraine. Marta’s husband is 28 years old and Eri is 30 years old. Now they have an internet connection. They see each other almost every day.

– They say how it is there, how it is here. Yesterday when Lviv was attacking, it looked terrible. There is a fire all the time. It can be seen from the missiles. He sent us pictures of burnt children. The stories are really shocking, it’s hard to believe that such a thing could happen – says Ira.

– On the one hand, our husbands want us back, but they really prefer us to be safe here – adds Marta.

Ira’s mother, father and brother also remained in Ukraine.

– My mother is a military nurse so she couldn’t leave. The men are at their best, the brother is 26 years old, the Ukrainian woman explains.

Marta has a 25-year-old brother who is a military doctor. Another son of Mrs. Natalia remained in Ukraine. He wants to become a priest in the future. The husband is a miner and works in the mine. They are Catholics and Greek Catholics.

Refugees from Ukraine

The priest still wants to helpPrevious

The parish priest is preparing more places for the refugees. These are the rooms above the parish office. There will be 6-7 rooms there. Rooms require renovation. Plumbing is partially done, but a company is needed to get to the finish. You also need to align and paint the walls.

– People are needed to help and building materials, and this is very expensive now – says Reverend Kotinia.

According to Priest Pawe, Ukrainians can use the help of volunteers to deal with official matters in offices.

– That they know which office, and where it is located. Which and how to fill out applications for financial assistance, how to settle banking matters – the priest’s lists. – Officials often use technical language, words that we often do not understand, let alone foreigners. Such help will certainly come in handy.

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