Irina is dressed in all pink — pink hat, coat, scarf, pants, and boots. She stands out from the many Ukrainian refugees, most of whom are bundled tight in shades of black and gray.
“The thing you feel for the first three days [after leaving] is relief. You don’t hear bombing. Your child is safe,” said Irina as she spoke with a Convoy of Hope team member. “But then it passes and sadness comes. Such sadness that you understand [your old] life will never return.”
Just days before, Irina worked in the import and export business. With tears in her eyes, she is unsure of what to expect from life in Poland. “You fall asleep with these thoughts and wake up. You do not know how to continue living.”
Irina is separated from her family — her husband required by the Ukrainian government to stay and fight near the border with Belarus. The two of them talk every 2 to 3 hours to make sure they and their children are alive.
When asked about her pink outfit, Irina’s answer was surprising. “Yesterday, when I looked at everyone, they were in black. My whole life I [have] hated pink. My whole life. My daughter was never dressed in pink. Never. [Now] it is my desire — the desire to be happy and [not] give up.”
Irina hates pink, but she chose to wear her resilience with color. Her face is determined. She radiates the kind of hope that only comes to the surface under horrific circumstances.
“Belief is a feeling that God will never forsake me and my country. I have to believe in this. I have no other choice,” said Irina.
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