“Children, today we are staying at home”

Diana, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, almost 17 years old, 13.02 - 01.03.2022

“Children, today we are staying at home”


I am in the 11th grade. Everything was normal in our school. As in all others, a drill was recently conducted (3 calls), and we were taken to a local shelter, something like a bunker, the whole school in our village. Back then, all these things seemed so far away, and we thought such a thing as war would never happen. We diligently began preparing for the ZNO(final exams in Ukraine) and submitted our applications to register this week.


My friends and I went to the ice skating rink in the evening. I soaked in positive emotions, and since my friends were older and they don’t go to school anymore, they promised to come visit me tomorrow during my 4th lesson, physical education, because we don’t see each other so often anymore, everyone works. I was thrilled and was already waiting for that.


The morning started as early as ever. Around 5:30 am, I was lying in my room and heard the first rings of gunfire. The first thought that came to me was it was just something that fell on our roof. My parents got up quickly and told my younger sister and me to prepare. I wrote to my friends about how much I love them.

In the school group in Viber, the class teacher wrote: “Children, today we are sitting at home.“ Tears instantly came to my eyes, and a Telegram channel named “ZNO 2022” started posting news about the war.

Most of all, I wanted not to go anywhere, not to the West, not to Poland, not to the Crimea, nowhere. Stay in my homeplace, in Ukraine, with my family, friends, and everything I love. The day before, I was thinking about my birthday, and what a big problem it is to decide how to celebrate it. Now I understand that I will not have a birthday, and it does not matter now. I will spend my whole life without a birthday if it all ends right now. Thousands of people are dying.

I remembered the school assemblies and history lessons about the war, the “Heavenly Hundred,” the Maidan. One Begins to perceive it a little differently now. On that day, I would have gladly gone to school to learn physics, which I didn’t like, and sit through at least seven physics classes. If only this morning would start as it did before.


The Russians built a base for themselves right in front of our house. They came asking for bread and water. My mom made them sandwiches. They said they were peaceful and would not shoot at civilians. The very sight of them was frightening. It seemed their equipment weighed more than themselves. Walking armouries. After some time, they began to crush the asphalt and set up installations with weapons. Mom spread the panic and said that our house would be bombed and we urgently needed to leave. We went to our cousins. That day I cried for the first time.


Today is the first day of spring. During these days, I spent nights in the basement with many people. There were many children. They all crawled under my blanket and snuggled up. I was the oldest among them there. Of course, they were also scared.

As for me, until that time, I worked. I taught the children and helped them with homework and English. While I was sitting there, many thoughts flashed through my head: that I like working with children and I think I could become a good teacher, but not with our conditions and salaries in schools and great moral stress. But I decided that I would like to study philology and translation. And what will happen next? Who knows. I would like to open my own school.

These days without electricity and water, the only thing that helps is getting messages from my friends saying they are ok. But it was simply unbearable when there was no connection. I have never heard such a killing silence as if every blade of grass is listening, trying to understand if there will be more explosions.

Our heroes continue to protect us, and I believe in peace. I think that our people will be able to survive. And we will not forget every hero. The “ghostly” Kyiv pilot, the brave guys from the Snake Island (Zmiinyi island), who sent the Russian ship to ….. and many others.

Glory To Ukraine! Glory to the heroes.

“И вот стих если можно и нужно:

П'ята тридцять ранку за київським часом,

І лютий скінчиться незагорами.

Та здається ніби часу ще з гаком,

Щоб зайнятись своїми ділами.

Вже люди,

На роботу спішать у ночі покровах.

Діти у школу підуть помаленьку зрання.

Та чому ж моя Україна стоїть у сумнівах вся.

Заспокійливу тишу обірвав смерті звук,

І страх у серцях загудів.

То аеродром наш військовий потух,

І тільки згадку про себе лишив.

Київ, Харків, Одеса і Львів,

всі стоять як один.

Донбасс, Запоріжжя і Крим,

у перебіг скрутних годин.

Примара київський та тисячі українців

Захищають свою Україну.

То може скінчаться згодом смерті бійців,

Побратимів закінчимо бити країну?