I was sixteen when the Orange Revolution happened in Ukraine. I had been working in a Ukrainian summer camp for a couple years, and I remember one of my friends, Anya, writing me a letter saying how proud she was of Ukraine and what it signified for their independence. After that, I returned to Ukraine each summer and started helping with winter camps too during my school breaks throughout college. I’ve descended those long, apartment building tall escalators into the Kyiv metro maybe a hundred times.
Do I have friends that are refugees now? Yes.
Do I have friends whose cities have been shelled? Yes.
Do I have friends who are unable to leave Kyiv? Yes.
Do I have friends driving as I write trying to reach safety? Yes.
Do I have friends who have fled to Western Ukraine with children our children’s age to try and protect them? Yes.
Do I have friends who are unable to leave the country because they are of fighting age? Yes.
Outside the snow is falling and I’m here at the mill, cleaning, trying to work, and feeling like a small, helpless voice in an ocean of voices while Ukrainians are blowing the bridges to the city I love to keep Russian tanks from rolling down its streets.