Light at the end of the war


It is night outdoors.

It is absolutely dark in this yard.

Two multi-storeyed buildings standing one after the other are not lit at all. Adults, children, elderly people with specific needs live in these buildings. There are no chances for heating some water, charging the phone or switching on a heater, taking the lift to the 16th floor so far. I am sure that not all of them have even managed to buy candles. That is why the windows are absolutely dark.

— Please, tell me, do you have candles? — I ask in the nearest shop.

— No, none. And for quite a long period already. We have ordered them, but they are not been delivered yet.

We have to be ready for everything:

no electricity and water,

shortage of foodstuffs,

missile strikes and a nuclear explosion.

On October 10 the Russian army staged another massive missile strike of the Ukrainian territories with particular cynicism, destroying critical infrastructure. Electricity was cut off in plenty of inhabited settlements. They cannot even be counted.

Luckily, it is warm outdoors. Indian summer. And you can just stay in silence when it is dark. Daily household problems are nothing tragic, but the other thing is that there are some places where life is generally not possible without electricity.

I am just thinking about hospitals.

— Go to the bomb shelter or leave the premises. Air alert! — says a guard in the hospital.

We have come with a baby who is seven months old, with an emergency request. But there is no reception of patients during the air alert period. We leave the premises. Nobody knows how much we’ll have to wait.

Everyone who chose to stay in Ukraine after the outbreak of the great war, probably, realized that it would all be not easy. But the desire to stay in the country, to help with your presence and with your work has won.

Even when you are going back home across the unlit European capital, the first thing that dawns on you is that winning in the war is about the engagement of each of us. Now victory lies in helping electricians restore stable electricity supply. Each of us has to reduce the general load on the power network and terminate all excessive spending. That is why a washing machine will now be used in the night time. And only after that you recall the fears you used to have in childhood.

But it is not darkness that you should be afraid of.


It is night outdoors.

But Victory is coming. We feel it even where there is no light.

Author: Svitlana Stretovych, Ukrainian essayist, program director of Litosvita

Translator: Halyna Pekhnyk

Illustrator: Victoria Boyko

Content Editor: Maryna Korchaka

Program Directors: Julia Ovcharenko and Demyan Om Dyakiv Slavitski