Olena, a mother of two from Korosten, about 170 km northwest of Kyiv, is one of the people who have stayed at Garden. When Korosten came under attack, Olena fled with her daughters, Arina, 3, and Karina, 5. Her husband remained in their hometown. “It was horrible and very scary when the rockets were flying. Four houses were on fire and burnt down completely, says Olena. “My children didn’t know before what the war means, but they’ve spent time in the basement, experienced fear and the horrors of the shelling.”
After a long trip by train to Lviv, Olena and her daughters found respite at Garden. However, while Karina and Arina run around and play on the mattresses, Olena remains concerned about the future. She doesn’t know what to do and where to go. For now, she is staying at Garden but is considering moving further. “Maybe we’ll go to Poland, or maybe not… I don’t want to leave Ukraine, but I’m concerned about my children’s safety. I don’t want them to hear the sirens and experience the horrors of war again,” she explains.
While standing on the terrace where wedding guests would drink champagne in the peaceful past, Olena thinks about her future:
“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I know that I want to live and to be with my children.
And my biggest wish is the end of the war so that I can go back home. I simply want to go home and be there with my family, as before the war.”