Antonina Mikhailovna celebrates her 90th birthday on the frontline in eastern Ukraine

Antonina Mikhailovna celebrates her 90th birthday on the frontline in eastern Ukraine

Antonina Mikhailovna likes having guests over. She enjoys telling stories about her life and giving advice to those around her. She definitely has lots of experience to something to share… Because this year Antonina Mikhailovna celebrates her 90th birthday! 

Antonina Mikhailovna lives in Myronivskyi in the east of Ukraine, which became a frontline village four years ago. Antonina worked in the housing and utilities sectors for 43 years in Myronivskyi. Antonina likes to say that her family has 117 years of work experience. To demonstrate this, she pulled out countless awards and certificates from the big cupboard in her living room. Besides, she showed photos from her family and work albums. They give us a picture of Antonina Mikhailovna as a very creative, hardworking, positive and active person. Even now, she assures by saying that "It even seems to me, if the war ends, I would even find a job for myself". However, the war has brought other concerns.

Another war in her lifetime

Antonina Mihailovna remembers the Second World War, but vaguely, as she was very young and it did not affect her directly. In old age, four years ago, war came to her house. When the nearby hostilities were most intense, in 2015, the projectiles that fell in her neighbor's yard damaged the roof and windows. For this reason, Antonina left Myronivskyi to live with and take care of her sister. "I was very homesick there and decided to come back after a short time", said Antonina. She also refuses to move to live with her grandchildren, and her children passed away long time ago.

After returning to her native village, Antonina Mikhalovna fixed the damages to her house with her own money, but later the repair proved to be unreliable. This year, People in Need with the UN Refugee Agency funding made repairs to her house that would ensure it would stay warm and dry through the winter. We replaced windows, the door, as well as installed a linoleum floor and repaired the leaking roof. "I am so grateful that I do not even know how to thank them. They even plastered cracks outside for me. Thank you," she says.

Antonina Mikhailovna hopes with all her heart that the war will end soon. "The fact is that every evening when we go to watch the news on TV, we think: God, let us live to see the day when there will be no war," Antonina Mikhailovna tells. It is already the fifth year of hoping. 

Author: Olena Budahovska, Maria Lozan