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dasha & pasza, donetsk, FIRST 24 HOURS

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How come can I take all this stuff out of the train, I thought when I finally started travel to Donetsk. I had taken definitely too many things – maybe 50 % of my clothes would be enough? This momentous query was actually a substitute of a serious doubt – if I am ready to spend a year abroad and whether I can carry out the tasks that I am entrusted with. Happily I had a perfect company during the trip – another volunteer from Poland, Paweł. If we fail, we will fail together. For example with getting off the train on time

Happily, we met a wonderful Ukrainian guy in our second class train. Except some warnings about dangerous homeless dogs and totally unfriendly police, which we received from him, our conversations were full of good vibes. It was a first Ukrainian citizen that we had met so far, also the first one that thanked us for coming and working for development of Ukraine. He helped me with luggage, when it came to me to get off at the station in Kiev. As it proved later, this man was not the only one who pleased us with “Thank you” words. We met another nice Ukrainian, sportsman from Sumy, that was waiting for a transfer on the station with us.

First minutes after arriving were full of uncertainty – nice girl Katia (coordinator of our project) waiting for us on the platform, nice building of the railway station, nice starry night sky, nice driver Oleh, who picked us up to our new flat. Even luggage seemed lighter. Everything was nice, except one thing – it is hard to feel the ground under your feet, when there are your dreams coming true. I felt like walking on the moon.

Only then I noticed how dirty, industrial and grey the city is – exactly in the way I had assumed. Let’s call the condition of pavements serviceable - because of them I had to touch the ground eventually. Łódź, Polish city that I used to live is strange, slightly overwhelming and filthy. Well… yeah! In Donetsk it can really feel like home!

City proved to be a much more complicated structure than we could expect. After first night in a new place, Katia picked us up to the city centre by marshrutka – where we had a chance to experience advantages of wonderful travelling in a crowded (and dirty as well) minibus. In the same time, the local color amazed me. Nobody can remain indifferent to the beautifully, smartly dressed women. Their jewelery, furs, fancy hats, richly decorated gloves, meticulous makeup dazzle me time and time again.Sometimes I only wonder how they can survive wearing thin tights, when there is -5 C outside. By the way, I really like our flat. Just take a look at my “mini office” in living room – prekrasno!

Center of European Cooperation is placed somewhere between Circus Korona and the oldest McDonalds’ in this area. We went to the office of our NGO and had a first eye-to-eye meeting with the Director – Elena. Nothing better to see than happy faces of energetic people. Even though we hadn’t had specific duties yet, it was good to know that during year of EVS we will have a chance to work with valuable and cheerful people.

In the afternoon we met our mentors – lovely girls at the age of 16 and 18. Its super obligatory to see one exact place in Donetsk. Bingo! Donbas Arena – this is where they took us. We enjoyed a chat and the atmosphere inside of Fun café, while on the screens there was a transmission of Sochi OG 2014 going.

We left Poland as Daria and Paweł but here we received a brand new identity. We became Dasha and Pasha in order to facilitate calling us by locals. I think it has a beautiful meaning of starting new life adventure with EVS.

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