Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001 12:23:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: Nataliya Yaroshenko
Subject: from Natasha

Chapter 4

After I had been interviewed I had to wait for about 6 hours for the decision of the Minister if I could be under the process of giving me the status of the refugee.

During this time I was taken photos and fingerprinted. I had read only in the detective stories about the fingerprinting. It was rather an interesting procedure! I remember some black thing that I had to wash from my hands after that fingerprinting.

Waiting in the hall I met a family from Chechnya. Then I heard the real facts about the war in that country for the first time.

They told me that their block of flats was destroyed completely after the bombing. It was a miracle that their family was out that night. But they ran away from their wonderful and beautiful country (as they told) to save their lives. Of course I understood very little about this war from that conversation. I just couldn't ask many questions because I felt that it was not a suitable time for it. But I didn't guess that a little later I would know so much about this nation, its customs and traditions, about its terrible days of the first and the second wars.

Through the glass door of the hall I saw a driver of a taxi who fed doves. I went out to see better. It was so excited sight. Doves flocked down from all the sides and were not afraid of that old man at all. They sat even on his arms. It seemed the doves were so happy to see that man! He filled the bottle with the wheat several times and pored down for the birds. I heard that he even talked to them. It lasted for about twenty minutes. Birds that were fed flied away, other doves flied down to the man to eat. When I went up closer to that place only several sparrows were picking out the last grains of wheat. All the doves were satisfied.

The man noticed that I was interested and asked me something. I answered in Ukrainian that I didn't understand him. And he began to talk to me in broken Russian. He told he always bought wheat for doves though it was not cheap for him. Then his face became sad and he said: I would like any living soul (creature) remembered me after I have gone... And he looked up at the sky.

After all the documents were ready I was told to go to the Central Refugee Camp not far from Warsaw. I had no imagination where to go. But a woman from the office asked two young men to take me with them as they lived there. I was lucky enough not to spend a lot of time looking for the place. It took us forty-five minutes to go by warm and clean local train. And then we had to walk about three km to the camp.

We passed through a few villages and woods. It was like the area in the west of Ukraine. Not far from the camp we wanted to shorten our way and to pass through the forest but the police cordoned off the place and didn't allow us to do it. Later we found out that 2 young girls were killed cruelty by cutting off their heads. An awful death! Later I heard that they had a suspicion someone from the refugees did it. Who knows?

More closer we were to the camp more thoughts were in my head. I had seen some refugee camps on TV... People lived
in the tents there and slept on the ground. I didn't know what camp it would be and I felt a weak inexplicable fear.
At last the camp! It was in the forest. There were a few not tall buildings seen. Later I found out that there had been a Russian Soviet Military Base there during the communist regime in Poland. The camp was barriered with the barbed wire. We went into the camp through the strict guarded post. But I was met with a woman who smiled at me and asked to wait.

I saw one guard carry the plate with a fried big meat cutlet and some mashed potato. It was evening. I was so hungry. But I knew that it was late for the supper and prepared myself to wait for the next morning to eat.

When the procedure of accepting me was finished that woman gave me... A PACKET WITH SOME FOOD - a dry ration! I looked inside and saw that I had a lot to eat! I couldn't believe! The packet was not big but it contained different things, some were strange to me. I should be more patient and didn't show that I was hungry. But it was late. The woman notices that I looked inside the packet with interest and understood. :-) She got up, took one big apple (maybe her own apple) and gave me. I felt not good for my behavior but I took the apple and thanked her for everything.

============== 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.