Following our Ukraine-focused Monthly Team Meeting last month, we sat down with Vitalii to speak to him a bit more about how he was doing, and about what being Ukrainian means to him right now. These are his words.
My name is Vitalii and I work for myOnvent as a QA Engineer. I have lived in Uzhhorod, Ukraine for 6 years now. On February 24th 2022, I woke up a little bit earlier than usual with my phone full of messages, all of them saying the same thing – the war had started. I stared at my phone for 30 minutes, I couldn’t believe it was real. After that, all of my plans and wishes for the future changed to only one thing – for this war to stop as soon as possible.
Our local restaurants came together on the second day of war to arrange a place for refugees to eat for free – almost 20,000 people every day. That’s just one of many examples of what people in my region are doing for our homeland.
Uzhhorod is in the west, the safest part of Ukraine. Today, our region is taking in refugees from all over the country and sending food and supplies to our army. Our local restaurants came together on the second day of war to arrange a place for refugees to eat for free – almost 20,000 people every day. That’s just one of many examples of what people in my region are doing for our homeland. But still, we have air sirens almost daily. We’ve had to adjust to be able to work alongside the sounds of bombshells. As I wrote this article, I had to go to a bomb shelter twice in a single day. That’s the reality the whole of Ukraine faces now.
I had a chance to sit down with a man who had just arrived from Mariupol – in Mariupol, nearly every house was bombed, including his. He told me his stories about living without water, gas and food in -12ºC. I couldn’t believe that this could happen in the 21st century. For me, to be Ukrainian always meant to be free and fight for what’s right. Now, being Ukrainian has a whole new meaning, a much stronger sense of freedom than before. It breaks my heart to see the bombing of our cities and towns, our children dying, and everything this country was doing for centuries being destroyed.
The thing I love most about this country is our people. It always fascinated me how our people could unite in both horrible and good times. Last year, we were united around our national football team and had a summer miracle, we did so well in the EURO 2020. Back then, we never thought a war could happen. Now, with the war going on, we are united once again for the most important challenge in our whole history.
What we understand now is that peace is the simple things that we just can’t do anymore – meet and laugh with friends, play football, visit family from other towns, sleep in the comfort of our own homes.
The meaning of peace has changed for every Ukrainian. What we understand now is that peace is the simple things that we just can’t do anymore – meet and laugh with friends, play football, visit family from other towns, sleep in the comfort of our own homes.
I already regretted not traveling around Ukraine before the war, but after this ends, I want to visit each and every region of this beautiful country, meet new people and hear their stories. I’ve never been prouder to be born and raised in Ukraine and I believe in our win because we have fought for what’s right our whole history. To quote one of my favorite songs: “Peace will win, fear will lose”.
If you’re interested in reading some of the other stories we have shared from our Ukrainian team members, you can find them here.
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