The “no to war” of the Ukrainian toilets from Barcelona


Ilona, ​​Yarko, Tetiana and Dmytro They are four Ukrainian toilets who live and work in Barcelona. His life is divided between a past (and/or roots) in the Ukraine and a present and more than likely future in Catalonia. Some already have sons and daughters born here. The four carry years rooted in Barcelona and, like all his compatriots, they live with revulsion the invasion to which Russia is subjecting its country of origin. All four use similar words to express what they feel: “fear”, “horror”, “sadness”. Some burst into tears over the phone remembering relatives who still reside in Ukraine. Others are left without knowing what to say. Perhaps silence is the most eloquent word in a war. The four collaborate in sending sanitary material to the east of Europe. It is their way of feeling useful three thousand kilometers away.


Ilona Grynyshak: “After the covid deaths, now this”

Ilona Grynyshak It has been two difficult years. She explains sadly. She is 25 years old, she is nurse at Hospital del Mar and original from Ukraine. “I don’t even know what to say when they ask me how I am. I am powerless. After everything we have experienced with covid-19, after so many deaths, now again,” he says, referring to Russia’s invasion of his country. “But now it is much worse. And what scares me the most is that all countries have afraid of one person: Putin,” he mourns with a broken voice.

Ilona came to live in Barcelona when I was 14 years old. First his parents came looking for work; then she and her brother. The family, like many others, came in search of a better life. He remembers the first “very difficult” years, especially because of the language. “Then we found a ukrainian church and there I met many of those who are my friends now”, relates this young woman. Now, thousands of kilometers from Ukraine, He suffers for his country. The last time he visited was three years ago.

“All this, from a distance, I experience quite badly. I feel powerless from here doing nothing, fearing that something will happen to my relatives…”, he says. He even admits that he is afraid to go to work. “I’m very distracted. I am in resuscitation and there are very complicated patients”. From Barcelona, ​​he does what he can. He goes to the demonstrations and collects clothing, medicine and food to send to Ukraine. She “entertains”, she says, to avoid thinking about reality. The one that reaches her through the news and the stories of her own relatives. “We are all scared to death.”


Yarko Compta: “Ukraine, Syria, Yemen… It’s a complete disaster”

“No one thought this could happen, but we have always lived with this fear.” she says it Yarko Compta, Neurologist at Hospital Clínic, 45 years old. He was born in Barcelona, ​​but his mother is Ukrainian and his mother tongue is Ukrainian. “Since 1991, when the USSR fell, we are the same”, Yarko laments. This neurologist defines the situation as “horrifying”, among other things because he touches her “very closely”. “Us we have family there, my mother’s cousins. The country is suffering an enormous misfortune. I see places that belong to the Ukrainian imaginary that are being destroyed, “he explains on the other end of the phone.

The war in Ukraine is being lived “minute by minute”. “And I,” he adds, I am oscillating between sorrow and rage. The Clinic, like other hospitals, has mobilized to express its rejection of the Russian invasion and send medical supplies to Ukraine. “We send very basic medicines, like insulin for people who, although they are not fighting, cannot live without it,” says Yarko. He complains not only about the war in Ukraine, but of many others, such as those of Syria or Yemen. “It’s all a disaster,” he repeats all the time.

He does not dare to predict how long the attack on Ukraine will last, but he believes that “it can be a long thing”. He considers himself half Ukrainian (his mother, as a child, sent him to Germany to Ukrainian camps so as not to lose ties) and half Catalan. And, although he has a wife and children, he does not rule out going to Ukraine to provide health support. “I think I can’t stop thinking about it,” he muses. He hasn’t made a decision yet.


Tetiana Goncharova: “I cried when I found out the invasion was starting”

The uncles and cousins ​​of Tetiana Goncharova They live in Ukraine. At the time of the bombing, his cousin was in Odessa, from where he had to flee. “Since it started everything is being very hard. We are in ‘shock’ because part of our family still lives there. We brought my grandmother to Barcelona at the time that Putin placed the troops on the border,” says this doctor. First year resident in Ophthalmology at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital. He is 27 years old and arrived in Barcelona at the age of seven, together with his mother. They all say the same thing: they were looking for a better life.

But part of his life back then stayed in their country of origin, in Ukraine, which now trembles from a war that causes pain beyond its borders. He tells the same story as his fellow Ukrainians when asked: “I burst into tears when he called me that Thursday morning to tell me that Russia had started attacking Ukraine.” Tetiana understood that the invasion was “serious” when she realized that there would be “no ceasefire”. “From there we changed the chip and began to look at how we could help.”

The Vall d’Hebron restrooms are also filling boxes with medicines to send to the Ukrainian consulate. But his work does not end there. Tetiana’s mother he went by carIt’s the border with Poland to carry blankets, clothes and food. Along with other Ukrainian citizens of Barcelona, ​​this family is organizing to give shelter to Ukrainian families arriving in Barcelona. “And here in the hospital many doctors and nurses from my department have already applied for take in Ukrainian children.


Dmytro Lushchenkov: “We are stunned. This hurts a lot”

Dmytro Lushchenkov, Ukrainian, speaks slowly on the other end of the phone. He is 50 years old and works as anesthesiologist at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu. He has been in Barcelona for 20 years. “I came because of the economic crisis. I studied Medicine in St. Petersburg, in the former USSR, and then I worked as a doctor in Kiev (Ukraine). I came to Spain in 1999″, he recounts. He was looking to change his life because his native country “was not good”. “I was not happy with that and decided that I had to come here for a change of scenery”, Dmytro tells.

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Part of his family already lived in Spain before he arrived, including his parents. Everything was easier that way. Like his compatriots, he lives the war, from a distance, with fear and horror. “We are all very stunned. Despite so much time away, we still have ties, family and friends there. And memories too. This hurts a lot, a lot,” says this anesthesiologist.

He talks to his remaining friends in Kiev, mostly to make sure they’re still alive. Try not to overwhelm them with messages at all hours, it says. They tell him that they take refuge in cellars, that They hear the bombs outside. Dmytro expresses it all with a tone of sadness that it is impossible to hide. His wife, like him, is a doctor and Ukrainian and together they have two daughters born in Barcelona. Also like his compatriots, help as you can through the consulate of Ukraine. This anesthesiologist did not expect this war, despite the escalation of tension experienced in recent years. “On this scale no, I did not expect it. And he has left me frozen,” he concludes. He is unable to express more.


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