Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 12:14:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: Nataliya Yaroshenko
Subject: my new life
I saw a lot of people near the refugee office. One group reminded me gypsies. Later I found out they were from Romania. But I didn't see them in the camps. Most of the people were from Chechnya. I was told to come for the interview next
day at 9 am.
When they asked if I could afford a hotel I answered No! To tell you the truth
the first thought was to sit at the railroad station till the morning again
as I had no strengths to look for anything more. But they gave me 2 addresses
could sleep for free. They advised to use the first one and in case anything wouldn't work out I had to use another worse one. The first was not far from the office. I found it quickly but no one answered my knocking. I returned to the office 2 times. They advised me to try. I tried with no result. So I had to go by bus to another part of the huge city and then to cover a long distance on foot. I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough strengths to get it...
Oh, if I knew what it was I would never use the second address. I would do what all the people from the former USSR do coming to Warsaw or it would be better to sit in the station. What I was planning to do until getting my first salary was to go to any street market and to ask our people where one could rent a cheap bed.
A lot of Polish people want to have some extra money because the life in Poland is hard as well. Later having a job I could rent a room. I got to the place to spend the night. It was a room for homeless women (some of them were with children of different ages) by the church. I filled in a paper for one night and was shown to a place where to sleep. It wasn't a bed. There were plank beds in 2 floors. I think about 40 women and children lived there.
No one woman could understand me and I couldn't understand them. They didn't
pay much attention to me. They lived
by their own lives that I can't understand even now. As the linen wasn't changed as one woman gave up her sleeping place for me and went out (I don't know where) I tried to put on myself the clothes so as my skin touched the suspiciously clean sheet and duvet cover as less as possible. I was so tired that I didn't realize my situation. I was almost sleeping when I heard that I had to go to have free supper an hour later. I thanked and didn't remember any more. I was too exhausted. I missed the supper (I doubt that I could eat anything there). I wanted to watch and find out more about that kind of society and I missed it, too. .... I was sleeping.
But while sleeping I managed to get into trouble. I suddenly fell from the plank bed while sleeping. I had two wounds and a bruise on the right hand. One wound was bleeding a little. After a while I was sleeping again. Early in the morning I realized everything and had only one will - to leave that place. It was dark. I had to wait. That room was not aired. It was cold and all the window cracks were battened down. A little later some women were woken up and went out. Then some schoolchildren went to school...
I felt much better walking to the refugee office. It was frosty and not too cold. The fresh air filled my lungs. I saw other people, I was in the other world.
One thing confused me. I tried to read the signs in the streets and found out that there were so many skleps (crypts in English) right in the center and everywhere. I thought that the word sklep is an international one and have the same meaning and that it was a strange Polish tradition to built crypts in the city streets everywhere. Even in the centers. I was afraid to go in. But I saw so many people going in and out. I went in.... Skleps means stores (shops)! I felt better after that. :-)
I had to stay near the refugee office for a few minutes so as to be allowed to go in. But even that time was enough for me to get into the trouble again! A dove above me got my coat dirty in front. I was nearly crying. I began to clean it with my handkerchief but suddenly I was called for the interview. I came out and saw questioned look of the woman that was going to interview me. After my explanation she kindly smiled and said it was a good sign for good luck that the bird did to me. :-).
============== to be continued...chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
children's war pictures One girl brought me a picture where a soldier is seen from the tank and smiles. And in front of him is the house in the fire. I asked her why the soldier is smiling. She answered that when Russian soldiers killed their people and fired - they smiled or laughed. This girl is 8 years old. And one girl brought me a picture of a girl watering the flowers and above her flies the plane and throws the bombs. A lot of bombs but the girl doesn't see... The bombs are above her falling down. And the sun is shining, the flowers are so beautiful. One girl draws some dead people and little children among them.