The war took us by surprise: someone heard the first explosions at home, and someone learned the terrible news about it over the phone. Still, in both scenarios, everyone’s life was divided into “before” and “after” that sound. We want to tell you how the members of our team lived through these, without exaggeration, the most difficult weeks for every Ukrainian.
Victoria Andrushko, Chief Operations Officer (Romania)
Back on the 23rd of Feb, we lived our usual happy lives, but Thursday morning turned everything upside down. Tears rolled down my cheeks as tanks drove through the peaceful streets of Kyiv. I could not believe that this was a real war.
The next day I realized that it would be psychologically difficult to cope with this amount of stress, helplessness, and constant moving from the apartment to the bomb shelter. So I decided to leave the city.
The most difficult thing for me was to leave the apartment – at this point, you realize that you can have no chance of ever returning to your home.
After two days of travel and two days at the border, we arrived in Romania. We were greeted very warmly: we were impressed by the kindness of the people who offered us food, SIM cards, helped with translation and finding housing.
The IT industry is now one of the few right now that can continue to make money. So when I started feeling safe, I decided to focus on my work. This is what helps me to distract myself from constantly watching the news, feel financial security, and contribute to the economy of Ukraine.
Thanks to our work, we can help the country and be its reliable rear. This motivates us not to give up, not to stop, and to believe in our common victory.
Konstantin Koretskiy, Senior Developer (Vinnytsia region, Ukraine)
You sleep. In a dream, you hear a distinct, loud explosion. You think something fell somewhere on the construction. You wake up from the child’s words: “Why don’t I go to kindergarten?”. Mom replies, “Because the war started.” For a child, these are empty words, as he does not yet know what it means.
In a moment, you see the news of the bombing of big cities across the country. The first thing you realize is a sharp lack of oxygen, your legs are swaying, you’re getting lost. Then the panic begins. All life disappears, all everyday life turns to dust. You do not care about anything, taking care of your own life takes a back seat. The priority now is your loved ones – how to protect them.
In the queue in the store, everyone is calm and polite. You find yourself in a bubble, where everything seems to be the same. But in reality, everything is different. Absolute strangers become almost friends: they help, try to encourage each other. There are no awkward pauses in communication, you make new acquaintances in a few minutes and learn people’s stories – where they come from, where they go, what pets they have.
You’re going to the bomb shelter. You pack everything you need in bags, holding your baby’s hand.
– Dad, are we going on vacation?
– No, we are going to hide from bad people. They want to offend us.
– Why do they want to offend us?
– I do not know.
– Are we going to hide, and they won’t find us?
– I hope so.
Day and night pass. You feel devastated, as if life is being sucked out of you. You see this horror in the news, it’s getting worse and worse. Emotions run high.
Every Ukrainian now is your father and mother, brother and sister, grandparent, child.
Then you pack your whole life in a pair of suitcases, leave dinner on the table and leave far. To protect the child from explosions. As soon as you get there, you find yourself in a house where four families live instead of one.
The reality now is the weak Internet, non-stop watching of the news, desperate trying to work and not to think about a possible threat to the world at large. Thoughts that we might just not survive. And gratitude to the fate that we are all right. You will not wish anyone to survive this aggression, this pain, this war.
We believe in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, we believe in victory, we believe in a bright future with a dark spot that will remain in our hearts. When the times come, we will rebuild everything.
Dmytro Ishchenko, Senior Developer (Kharkiv, Ukraine)
The day of February 24 has divided life into “before” and “after”. In recent weeks, I have heard this phrase many times, and unfortunately, it perfectly describes everything that is happening around.
Where does the working day of a regular developer usually start? You wipe your eyes, drink tea/coffee (depending on what time the previous working day ended), check your mail, read the news, review your tasks and dive into the project. Thursday the 24th destroyed everything. The brain, accustomed to performing the same sequence of tasks every day, refused to accept the new reality.
Apart from continuously reading the news during the day, all other tasks have completely lost their meaning.
I live with my family on the outskirts of Kharkiv, where active hostilities took place in the early days: it was unclear whose troops were moving, where they were firing, and what was happening around them. Unfortunately, our building was not ready for such a situation. Together with other activists, we converted an unfinished basement in one of the houses into a kind of bomb shelter. We equipped it with beds, provided lighting, brought water and other things. We spent 5 nights and several days in this basement while active hostilities took place nearby. Now the situation allows us to stay at home and not use our “shelter” for its purpose.
Is there a fear? For some reason, all feelings seem to be blocked – there is only anxiety for the family and its future. We had an idea to send the family away from this nightmare, but they refused to go without me. And fate is also that villain: now you do not know which place will be dangerous and which will not.
For the first ten days, I couldn’t turn off Telegram: I subscribed to a bunch of local and all-Ukrainian channels, tried to monitor the situation. I helped financially, delivered goods to military checkpoints as well as children’s humanitarian aid in our village, brought something on request to neighbors.
In the end, I’ve realized how I can help in the current situation and what my working days are now. I wake up, drink tea/coffee depending on the situation, read the latest news, drive through military checkpoints within reach, understand people’s needs, buy and bring it to them, return home, review tasks, and dive into the project. Local financial assistance also remains on my list.
I understand that this is a small crumb, but it is still a contribution to our common victory.
Pavlo Klymentenko, co-founder of the company (Montenegro)
At the beginning of the year, many clients were concerned about the situation in Ukraine, one of them even offered us a relocation for a few months. It was difficult to refuse because it covered all the costs of moving and living. My wife and I used to spend a maximum of a week or two abroad, but about 2 weeks before the war, we decided to move. We called such a relocation life insurance, not suspecting that these words will have a literal meaning.
The situation was heating up then, but this was not like the first time, so I did not take it very seriously. I was attracted by the opportunity to live in another country for a few months, to understand the locals, see the sea every morning, and reboot a bit. Some members of our team were more concerned about the news, so they also joined the trip. I could not imagine how far-sighted our partner’s proposal was back then.
February 24 was the worst day of my life. In the morning, I woke up an hour earlier than usual. I had just looked in the news when I was seized by a wild fear. My wife and I started calling our relatives and friends who stayed in Ukraine. The next step was to contact the team, most of whom were in the southern and eastern parts of the country.
A few thousand miles away, I felt helpless and unable to help people who really needed it.
The first few days of war flew by as one: convulsive flipping through the news as a new kind of addiction, joint calls with the team, moral support for each other, and constant thoughts about what will happen next.
Within a week, part of the team moved to safer places and showed readiness to work, because it helps to distract and support the Ukrainian economy. The main focus for the company now is to keep jobs and keep doing our work. Fortunately, we have this opportunity, because all our clients and partners are from Western Europe, the United States, and Canada.
My mission is to grow the company, to help developers who have lost their jobs and refugees who come to the country regularly. While in Montenegro, we are actively involved in humanitarian aid to Ukrainians and collecting everything necessary in Europe for the heroic soldiers of the Armed Forces (bulletproof vests, unloading, thermal underwear, sights, etc.).
Everyone has their own role, and everyone decides how and whom to help. The main thing is that all Ukrainians are now united in spirit. And victory is very close!