‘Displacement and War’ by Pawel Puchalski, Age 14, Wisbeach

15.05.22, Monday

When the missiles hit the house, we packed what wasn’t burning and what was valuable and drove to the border. We sold our car and got one with Polish licence plates to make it simpler to pass through, which didn’t have much of an influence on the large line towards Slovakia, though we didn’t want to say no. We were driving to England, which was a much longer journey. Leaving L’viv and heading west.

We didn’t know where we were headed in England, but we knew it would be far away from the fighting. We slept in the for a few days before going south to visit some of my father’s family in Slovenia, where we stayed for a few days before continuing north. We spent the night in a fuel station in Germany. A black luxury sedan, I believe it was a Mercedes, nearly impacted us in the parking lot in the morning; they prevented our car from driving ahead, but we still had space. We were calm until we saw the Russian flag on Dad’s arm and pushed it into drive, sending us straight onto the highway. We were aware of this. We knew that there were Russians looking for defectors, but we didn’t know they’d come

It took hours and hours of tension. We had a little issue crossing the border in the English port due of the Polish automobile and Ukrainian passports, and we had to use our phones to communicate with the border guard. Fortunately, we made it through. We’re currently staying in a hotel close to the harbour. Dima is disappointed that we won’t be able to celebrate his birthday today, but Dasha brought him a plush to make him happy. We hope to return someday; we don’t know when or where, but we will. I need to eat and will return.

In a moment!