Update from Kharkiv - April 25

In 1993 Nativity School in Cincinnati and School #3 in Kharkiv exchanged students delegations.  Little did they know then that the impact of that exchange would be felt almost 30 years later.

I am L. from Kharkiv, Ukraine. 

Could I imagine that after almost 30 years from the moment I've been the youngest student among others who arrived from Kharkiv school #3 to the Nativity School in Cincinnati, my American host family will save me from the war in Ukraine?  Probably, not.

Could I imagine that in all those almost 30 years I will never use the word "host" between the words American and family and after almost 30 years it will be just the "family" - written and felt in my heart?

On February 24th I woke up with the first explosion. I could not believe this was really happening. We all were waiting and trying not to panic.  But among the first messages on that day was the email to my American mom: "Hello Mrs. H. Unfortunately the war began…" and almost every email after was about love and gratitude.  For everything. Because every email could be my last email and I couldn't skip the chance to share my feelings.

(My two American Host Sisters) were sending me support letters all the time and this was a real support.  Because writing about kids' stuff to AHS #1 or asking about AHS #2's plans were mentally getting me out of the basement and muted the sounds of explosions and house shaking feelings.

Then it was a hard and long way and even when there was no energy to write I got a message like, we are sure, that you are okay.  

And then… was the kind of end for me. Not happy, unfortunately.  Mrs. H was the first whom I wrote to at that moment.  I had no strength, no answers, seemed like nothing at all.  And the next day I've got the email from Mrs. H that girls have an idea.  And the next emails from AHS #1 contained answers to everything. They contained the direction and hope that everything is possible. It was like a miracle she did for me for real.  And it was the real girl power, the family girlish circle power that gave me energy to survive and get into a safe place. 

Could I imagine all this almost 30 years ago while singing the Ukrainian anthem in the Nativity School hall?  Probably not.  But I have no words to describe all my thankfulness to God and all the people who made that day possible. Thank you!