Stasya, 13 years old, Nikopol (Dnipropetrovsk region)

The day before the war, my friend and I went to the cafe “Francois” and agreed to go for a walk the next day. And the next day the war began. That's why now we are sitting in “Francois” in Lviv and it seems like a little return home.

A week before the war, my father went to the military unit and began to live there. On February 23, he called and said that it would start tomorrow, and at 5 a.m. he called our mother, woke us up and we were collecting our things. I was sleepy and did not understand what was happening, in the process I realized that the war had begun. I was very scared and sad that we were leaving home.

When we gathered all the things, we went to my grandfather, because he has a basement and it's safer there. My mother kept pushing me because we had to leave the house before dawn while it was dark.

We got in a taxi with our dog Jerik and things. Jerik cried during the trip. When we went to my grandfather's house, my mother cried. The first hours were calm, and then the air raids began. Each time we went down to the basement, several times a day.

Everyone had responsibilities: my sister Ira opened the basement, I took care of Jerik, aunt Rita took care of little cousin Artem, and my mother took care of things and closed the basement. At first, we carried bags, and then we just left them in the basement to evacuate faster.

And my grandfather never went to the basement. Everyone was scared and confused. At 8:00 a.m. on the first day, we were told that the school was distance learning, and two days later we announced a vacation. It was the first day of the war, and I remember my mother crying all the time.

We lived in Nikopol for two weeks and then went to Lviv.

It hurt me to leave Jerick in Nikopol. My mother and I cried a lot at the station, but he was left not alone, with my grandfather. I miss Jerik every day. I miss my dad, my friends, our apartment and our peaceful life. I am waiting for us to return home because it is very difficult: stress, fear, no dad, a difficult trip and no personal space.

Because of this, we all grew up.