(Photos courtesy of Rada Myroshnychenko)
By Tracy Record
Editor of the West Seattle Blog
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is very personal to some people here in West Seattle.
16 years old Rada Myroshnychenko Is one of them. She comes from Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine [map] – 5,700 miles away – and has been living here as an exchange student for about six months Chief Sealth International High School.
After hearing about Rada from her host family, we asked if we could interview her. She answered our questions via email.
What is it like staying in touch with your family when your home country is under attack? “I text my mom every day because I’m so worried about her. Every time I check the messages, I immediately text my family to make sure they’re okay. It’s really scary to hear the sirens or sometimes even gunshot sounds in the background of her voice messages she sends me and of course they’re scared too. They are trying to convince me that everything is pretty much ok so I won’t worry that much and knowing they are doing everything they can to make sure there is safety.”
What should people here know about what’s going on? “What the Ukrainian nation values most is freedom, that’s why our country has been fighting for so many years with those who want to take that freedom away from us.” Rada also thinks it’s important that you grasp the “scale” of what’s happening : “To understand the magnitude of what is happening: imagine it was like 9/11 in every city of every state for 11 days every day – that’s what’s happening in Ukraine right now.”
She is heartened by the support for Ukraine here in the US and around the world – including a rally downtown last weekend.
“Actually, I’m very happy about all the support from other countries, no matter what it is. I’ve already seen a lot of Ukrainian flags in the West Seattle area and Seattle in general, and I’m also very grateful to my host family, friends and just everyone who went to the rally on Saturday. Everything the government and people of each country are doing for Ukraine is what I love to see most these days. I like that people from different countries are interested in what is happening in Ukraine and try to help as much as possible. I like that people understand how precious freedom and security is to our country and that they are trying to help us protect it.”
So if someone wants to help, we asked what is the best way from Rada’s point of view? “The best thing right now is to donate to our medical centers and hospitals that are rescuing those who have already suffered from the war. You can also donate to our army and volunteer defenders who protect our country.” She suggested these two connections: Army – uahelp.monobank.ua and Red Cross icrc.org/en/donate/ukraine
Will the war affect Rada’s return plans? She’s not sure yet – her exchange program is still in wait mode. She “always wanted people to get to know my country – Ukraine… how beautiful our culture, traditions, language, nature and cities are.” what you see… are ruins, fire, bombs and people hiding from the war”. She hopes for a happy return home: “I really want to see all my favorite streets in Ukraine when I come home, I want to meet my family and friends in the places we love, in safe and happy Ukraine – as it was mainly started from it. I just want all this aggression to stop and your donation and support is the best that can help us!”