‘From Dark to Light’ by Ava Mae

It all started on New Year’s Eve in Ukraine, when I was jolted awake by the sound of loud shouting and shaking. People were terrified, but there was not enough understanding to explain the loud noises.

This is when the country realised that the attacks were real, but no one knew who was to blame. Most individuals were beginning to pack their belongings and depart in fear of being slaughtered. As we began our trek to evacuate the country, many others, including my family, were looking for the greatest sanctuary. Many others screamed and yelled, “help, help, save me for the love of God,” but no one could assist.

People were being killed right in front of you as you dodged bombshells, gunfire, and gun shots. My entire family shielded me as we made our way to the nearest place of safety. Many more people were being slain every second as the voyage progressed. As our adversary Russia admitted to the strikes, air radars were sending alerts to the country to advise us to evacuate.

People were so terrified that they were willing to risk their lives by jumping into dangerous lakes and rivers in the hope of surviving. I was looking for a boat to carry me down the river to the nearest haven for the night. As the days passed, more and more air raids and explosions could be heard, forcing people to flee for their lives, abandoning everything they knew and loved. I am frequently reminded of our perilous adventure, crossing two countries and being treated like animals. The anguish in my fellow countrymen’s eyes will never be forgotten as they desire to be back home, surrounded by familiarity.

I am thankful that we were able to escape but being relocated is not a pleasant experience. I hope and pray that the innocent victims’ blood’ will never be forgotten. We have suffered greatly but have renewed trust in humanity. The daily compassion shown to us has been a terrific reward. I hope that no other country will ever have to go through what our people are going through every day.