East from the border – work in progress

This is a draft of my work in progress

(…) It’s always been hard, but never as hard as it is now. You see that block over there? Flats cost around a thousand dollars per square meter. It’s for rich oligarchs from the East. Normal people don’t have anything now. Sometimes there’s no water for one day, two days, three? How can you live like that? Without a shower, without tea? You see this factory there, on your left? It used to be the biggest bus factory in Ukraine. Everybody worked in that factory but now it’s closed. No, you can’t go inside, it’s locked. People are on the streets. Nobody cares in Ukraine.

(…) Rubbish is a big problem now. Take a photo of that, let people see it. I can hear the rats at night, there’s so many of them. You can’t even see the rubbish bins, they’re completely covered up. In a few weeks the temperature will get higher and the whole district will stink. It worries me, these kids playing in all that dirt.

(…) and can I ask you what do people in Poland think about the Russians? Me? I think it’s all a big money game. It’s difficult now, people hardly earn enough to live. In the past kids would come to the shop with money. Now they don’t have anything. It’s all the fault of corruption. What do I think about the East of Ukraine? It was all empty territories before the Russians settled there, it’s Russian anyway. People don’t really care about it here, they just want the war to end. But war means money, so it won’t end soon.

I miss Poland sometimes, all my family is there. But my visa expired and I can’t get a new one for the moment. Maybe when it all calms down a bit. Will there be another war? I don’t know. There’s a lot of weapons, legal, mostly illegal, people buy it on the black market and hide it. Where? I don’t know that. But I don’t see how it would change anything for better, another war. 

(…) this, here, it’s a rough district. You don’t want to be here at night. People are scared to go out. But they have no money so what choice do they have? You see this school here? It’s a very poor school, difficult. I had some friends here once. It was hard for them, but what can you do?

(…) Did you bring some vodka? No? You should have, Polish products are in vogue here. My business? I’m selling plant seeds. It’s no good now, because it’s still cold and nothing grows. But people will come in the spring time, in the spring time it’s good. When it gets a little warmer. I’ve been to Poland once, to Rzeszow. It’s a beautiful city. The most beautiful. My grandparents were Polish, but my parents had to move here and so I was born in Lviv. My whole life in Lviv. (…)

(…) my son, he’s in America. I love America, it’s the best country. It’s my heart’s country. We won a Green Card by accident. I got a letter: “congratulations, you won a Green Card”, I thought they were joking! But it was for real! So we didn’t wait, not even a month, we went to the embassy right away and in a few weeks we were on a plane to New York, can you believe that? Why New York? I don’t know. Florida, LA, New York, Washington, I didn’t know what would be good and what wouldn’t, so we just picked New York. (…)

(…) you know, in America, I worked in the middle of nowhere and the last bus was at ten and then nothing until morning. And one day they asked me, can you stay longer? So what can I say, I stay longer, and the last bus is gone, so I stand on the street in the middle of the night and wait for one hour, two? And than police car comes and they ask, why am I standing there? What am I doing? So I tell them, I need to wait for a bus. And could you believe it, they take me in the police car and drive me to near my house. I was driven back in a police car, can you imagine?


It would never happen here. Here they would plant some marijuana in your pocket. They do that to people. Then they ask for money. And we don’t have money, where from? If they robbed everything we had? One day I’ll go back to my son, to America. Or maybe to Poland. I don’t know yet, but I can’t stay here too long.


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