“I lived in the basement for six months,” says Sergei.
A tired, wrinkle-ridden face, the sluggish movements of an elderly gentleman and the piercing pain in his battered left leg that reminds him of itself with every movement. The resident of Bakhmut is invigorated by the sight of the camera. He stares into the lens as if in the last hope of finding Natalia – the beloved friend he lost sight of during the evacuation.
“If you see this, I promise you that I will find you and we will be together again.”
Sergei’s chin trembles. He is crying. He is not ashamed of his tears. They have accompanied him every day for a year. He lost everything, like most of Bahmut’s inhabitants. He almost lost his life too.
“A Russian rocket hit my house. Nothing was left of it. Only the basement. I lived in it for another six months, because where was I supposed to go? Houses were burning all over the area. I searched for food and water.”
A shell tore apart the walls of Sergei’s houses, the man’s past and future. He has nothing to go back to, but he still has something to live for.
We meet Sergei at one of the temporary stay points in Dnipro. There are an estimated 300-400,000 evacuees from the front line in the city. The Good Factory supplies such places with what is currently in short supply, and there can be a shortage of everything.
Today we are delivering food to three such points. We have travelled a long way to be here with them. You do not have to. You are already here with us. If you can help us provide Sergei and the other inhabitants of this place with a warm blanket, basic hygiene products and food, please do so. The bare essentials are not at all obvious here. We need you here very, very much.