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Dispatches from Ukraine: A photograph seen ’around the world

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Hanna Kurtsanovska is a Ukrainian journalist who writes for ABO Local Media Development Agency, a collaboration between 45 newspapers and 300 journalists unfold throughout Ukraine. They are linked by a standard web site — Svoi.international — and now the Boston Herald.

Every week earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine, a photograph of 79-year-old Valentyna Konstantynovska from Mariupol taking part in civilian fight coaching went worldwide.

She managed to go away her house on the final practice out of Mariupol. At first, she lived in Lviv, then Poland, and has now joined her youngest daughter in Spain. This is her story:

My life in Mariupol was very vibrant. I attended Ukrainian language programs, hang around with my associates; we cooked nationwide meals collectively, sang songs, and volunteered. In summer time, we’d go to Khortytsia Island, take dips in Dnipro, attend the Dyke Pole competition, and climb the Oba-Tash Mountain within the Zaporizhzhia area. We had so many plans for this summer time!

I’ve lived in Mariupol since 1964. I’ve principally labored on the Azov Shipping Company within the Economic Education Department. But I took breaks to take care of my children. I’ve raised two children, two daughters. I helped them elevate my grandkids as a result of each my daughters had been working.

I’ve spoken Russian my whole life. Only as an grownup, when my youthful brother received married, his spouse and I made a decision to talk Ukrainian at house. We spoke to one of the best of our talents. One factor about me is that I’m a little bit of an overachiever. So I purchased plenty of books in Ukrainian and began studying them out loud.

When in 2014 the Russians turned an open enemy to us, Ukrainians, I returned to my technique of language studying. I had a schedule: I awoke, did some workouts (with out fail), had breakfast, after which began studying. I received three volumes of Ukrainian dissident Levko Lukyanenko. So I learn his works out loud, articulating each phrase.

I discovered how one can load {a magazine}, assemble and disassemble the Kalashnikov. I’ve finger arthritis, however I nonetheless needed to do it. The footage from the coaching are the few ones I’ve left of the peaceable life in Mariupol. I didn’t get an opportunity to take the rest from that life with me.

I don’t see something heroic on this. I simply needed to discover ways to shoot.

After the full-scale invasion, we continued working on the volunteer headquarters. My hatred for invaders was so nice that I didn’t really feel concern. I assumed that if I didn’t kill no less than one in all them, I’d chunk them.

My children, figuring out my intentions, determined to get me out of, because it now turned out, hell. I rapidly boarded the practice. Only when my small backpack and I had been inside, did I discover out that that was the final practice from Mariupol. I had left my gasoline boiler turned on at house as a result of I assumed that I wouldn’t be gone for lengthy. I noticed that I wouldn’t return for a very long time — or in any respect.

 

Source: www.bostonherald.com”