A Day in the Life of a Ukrainian Refugee

Over the past month and a half, news stations around the world have been broadcasting updates on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Ukrainian citizens have been increasingly affected by the occupation, forcing women and children to flee and leaving men at the hands of the Russian military.
Ira Ivanitskaia is one of over a million Ukrainian refugees, and the Washington Post followed her and her son’s journey crossing to safety in Moldova.
Ira left her home in Odessa just days after her life as a hairdresser and mother was turned upside down by invasion. She made the journey to the border with just a duffel bag, tools to continue doing hair in refuge, little food, water, and sleep. What she had to leave behind were not just material items, but also her parents, her dog, her friends, and her house.
Ira finally crossed the border with her son, her friend Anya and her friend’s child, Roman. A driver sent by Ira’s friend Tatiana met and took them to a woman named Ludmila who was housing refugees. The house was in rural Moldova and was only open to them for one night, but at least they could shower, eat, and rest. After they ate, Ira and Anya met other Ukrainian refugees to talk about their experience escaping.
They finally felt safe. However, they weren’t fully relieved. Ira still needed to find a place to go after she spent the night in the house. She was planning on staying in Moldova to rest for a couple of days and then make her way to Germany, where her friend Anya’s siblings lived, through Romania and Hungary. Ira was hoping that she could find work as a hairdresser once she arrived in Germany. She couldn’t spend any more time in Ludmila’s house because other refugees needed room to stay and she needed to find another place to sleep. She and Anya resorted to posting an advertisement on Facebook, hoping someone would offer up a room in their home temporarily.
“I might not see Ukraine again for another 10 years,” said Ira. A new life, one she didn’t even know she was going to face a week before, is ahead of her.


Washington Post