Dear Victoria from Mariupol
Sunflower yellow butterflies are darting over the wet grass of the lawn. It is a bright, cloudless early autumn morning here on the farm near Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa.
As I stand peeling pears and am enjoying the silence, but your hurt eyes and tears fill my mind.
Victoria from Mariupol.
Your terrifying experiences in your mother city Mariupol, your description of the fear when missiles fell overhead. Your fear for your children, mother, your prayer to God to make death quick and painless. My God, I cannot try to imagine what you have experienced and are continuing to have to live through.
Your homes and lives shattered. Your city all but obliterated. No safe place to go, no food, amenities. And here I stand, my greatest concern today is to bake a loaf of bread for my beloved Elisa who works for me. My heart is breaking for you.
Here in South Africa, our government, much to our shame, is not commenting on your plight. I sincerely apologize. In my house we pray for your country and all the people. I wish there was more I could do. I would open my house in a heartbeat, but we are so far away and our government a bunch of self-serving ignoramuses.
I lit a candle for you this morning. Yesterday you told the Al Jazeera journalist that “Russia is destroying your country and raping your soul.” Your words and your sad eyes haunted my dreams.
As I prepare for my day, I pray that you are over the shock of a missile landing 10 metres from where you got out of the rescue bus in Lviv. I pray that you and your loved-ones are safe and above all I pray that the utter destruction of your beautiful country, the displacement, the loss will not break your spirit, and that as you wished out loud, “you will be able to ask a Russian why, why was this necessary.”
Dear Victoria from Mariupol, may your eyes shine bright again, soon.
May God have mercy on you and everyone in Ukraine and also our fragile human lives in a terribly broken world.
You will remain in my prayers and my favourite sunflower photo will remind me of you and your country henceforth. May you all be able to walk through fields of yellow under blue skies toward a safe future in Ukraine.
Erna from Farm Waterval.
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