Another Day in the Life

06-01-2019 personal accounts from the frontline in Ukraine by a paramedic volunteer, Aaron Harfort, who left his comfortable life in California following his heart when his ancestral land sent out a call for help about the imminent danger of occupation from an enemy. You could contact Aaron Harford: mojaverocketman@gmail.com It has been a full year since I came to Ukraine. A year. Seems longer; seems like a lifetime in many ways. I have most certainly changed. Learning the language enough to function, but certainly nowhere close to where I want to be. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I understand. Somedays I love Ukraine and want to live here for the rest of my days, and other times I feel frustration beyond belief and miss California. But when a friend tells me once back in my beloved Los Angeles I will quickly tire of all the rules and regulations, and will long to be back in free Ukraine! I agree, but just miss the ocean and Mojave desert. Near Pisky, there is shelling on a regular basis. Sometimes outgoing, sometimes incoming. There is not much of the town of Pisky left. Soldiers still sleep in hand-dug trenches, as if in World War I but with modern technology. Unlike the beginning of the war in 2014-2015, the conflict lines are now largely static. The Minsk agreements did result in a de-escalation of sorts, but there are fatalities and casualties on a regular basis. Most are killed and wounded by snipers and artillery. The static war brings with it other challenges and stresses, no less severe. Boredom, and the slow burn of ever-present danger mixed with the mundane tasks of daily living. Yesterday I exercised, made soup, grechka, pulled ticks off the dog, conducted a language lesson on my notebook, received more medical training, helped train others, and so forth. Day leads into day, week into week, month into month. A year. I have been here a year. Many have been here for several years, or since the beginning. I am technically still new. The recent elections and potential for civil war, along with an accompanying full-scale Russian invasion are on everyone’s mind. No one knows what will happen. Imagine, my fellow Californians, living with that tension on a daily, hourly basis? Gunfire, artillery, possible invasion (Russian tanks could be here in 30 minutes at the most), civil war, and yet... spring is here and the land is alive and flourishing. Many wonder what they should do after all of this; there is little to go back to. And yet... Kyiv and other cities are living in relative luxury and comfort. Oblivious. Maybe we need a full-scale invasion, or a civil war. God forbid.

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