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Tokariev Denys     



How did you experience war in 2014? What do you remember from that? How old were you? How did 2014-2015 go for you?
Please tell this story in detail.

2014 year. 18 years. I'm not a child anymore, but I'm still far from being an adult. I study in my first educational institution. I dreamed of becoming a lab assistant and working at a local factory. Clouds are gathering. I am very far from politics, I’m leading a student life and I am happy with days that are passing by so brightly. One by one. Winter comes, the same one that changed us. The clouds are getting darker. A hundred tortured heroes. My own pain and awareness of the necessity to fight. At least within yourself. The inability to change something and the immeasurable awareness of the price of human life.
Summer is here. You would think of a scorching steppe Sun? In fact, a terrible downpour  begins. Bearded men, constant verification of documents, people disappear, whimsical and absurd republics arise. My native Lysychansk is under occupation. Hopes melt away one by one. With grief in half I received my diploma.

The clouds gain a critical mass and the first lightning flashes begin to spark. The first explosions are heard, but the thunder has nothing to do with them. I understand that after such a terrible downpour, the earth must be cleansed. I have to leave home. Shelter in Kharkiv... Two months of terror and obscurity. Grandmother and grandfather did not want to leave and experienced horrors. It was not just heavy rain, but hail.I am returning home. It seems that the downpour has washed away all that horror. It seems that you can close your eyes and let go of everything, spread your wings and create.

The first anniversary of the city’s liberation. We went with a friend to lay flowers at the place of the fiercest battles near the bridge... We never find an answer to the question: "What was all this started for?" We talk a lot about this war, a war not from TV screens, but a war that has passed us by, but at arm's length. We conduct conversations and sermons with local marginals, try to explain who are really our brothers and who are executioners... We visit museums and polish the granite of faith in prosperity, which is created by our own brains and hands. Every year, the love for our native city, imbued with culture and history, only increases in our hearts... But already this war, which took place in the east, turns the coordinates of lives. Dreams about a factory and oil processing remain only dreams... And I still don't understand that reversal and radical change in my field of activity: did it take something from me or give me something  instead?

"Where were you these 8 years?".
How has this time passed for you, what changed in your life since the events of 2014?
What has influenced you the most during this time?
Please write in detail.

The downpour subsided, as did my desire to connect my life with chemistry and mineral processing. New Ukrainian School. Pedagogical master's degree. And I open the doors of an educational institution as a practical psychologist and special education teacher, I work with children with special educational needs.
It became not just an abbreviation of NUL, but my NUL — a new Ukrainian life. Small bright rays were running around. I tried to give them my applied knowledge, love, care, scientific pragmatism and confidence in the future, and they gave me - ideas for creativity, desire for endless moving “up” and memories. Memories that I will carry throughout my life...

For certain reasons, I ended up in the army. Сompulsory service. Hardening of character. Army comrades and commanders. It was during peacetime. I did not have to face the war with a weapon in my hands. My army comrades in the contract service did, some of whom, unfortunately, I will never get to see again... Too much of a fast forward. For now, let's go back a little.

After my peaceful army, I didn't even think for a moment about changing jobs. There were opportunities, there were offers. But the main thing for me was my students. I could not leave them.
My kids and I did not fly high. We did not show off. Our projects and ideas were inside a small community. Everyone received both individual and general things. We planted figs and flowers, created bizzare сut-outs, drew, visualized the future, made videos, talked... We talked a lot.

A lot of this happened thanks to the changes that happened to me after those bloody years of 2014-2015. The value of life and the moment, the importance of a sensual behavior towards each persona, and first of all, to one of a child, the desire not to wait for changes from above, but to create changes yourself and teach children to take their lives into their own hands. It is these special children's manifestations of feelings that I want to share with you.

What was February 24, 2022 for you like?
Did you believe that a full-scale offensive would begin?Where are you now? What do you do?

What do you think about your future now?

I could already see that not just a downpour was coming, a storm was coming, the likes of which the world had not seen for a long time. On the night of February 24, I wrote in my notebook: "The war has begun." Didn't sleep. Couldn't sleep. And at five o'clock telegrams began to burst with news about the explosions. I did not doubt for a moment that this was a war. And that we will win! I went to school for a week. Of course, there were no more children there. But I went out to look after the property. Apathy and sadness weighed heavily on my heart...

One of the first shellings of the city hit my house. The southern outskirts of Lysychansk... Cluster projectile, parts of which fell in the yard. Was it scary? Oddly enough, the bombs went off and went off, and my consciousness was crystallizing and realizing things I had never understood.

For 50 days of the war, I lived with my family in Lysychansk. But the desire to preserve the nerves of the mother and the desire to live triumph.

A traveling bag in which, as it turned out, everything I had earned in 26 years. The city of Dnipro. Distance lessons. Zoom (disgust to the first letter in this innocent program). Sorrow and pain for the tortured people. And what is most painful — for hundreds of children. Like the ones that I raised. Two months of refuge in the Dnipro. And again on the way. Moving to Kyiv. New meetings and ideas...
The days are pouring down like jelly, but we are getting ready for the new school year, which will be filled with new paints and colors.

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