Diary of a Ukrainian refugee: “I think the whole Red Cross housing affair is a joke”

My new job is going great. I really love it and it’s a new feeling for me. I enjoyed my work in Ukraine, but this is on another level.

It is not the first time that I am alone in another country. The first time was when I was 17 studying in Poland and although I thought it was what I wanted, it was never great. Now it feels like my life is catching up to all those expectations I had then, but in a brighter and calmer way. I don’t have to prove anything to myself anymore. I think that’s what growing up is.

I still have a lot of things to figure out, but I’m very proud of how I’ve managed to build my life up here. Even if it wasn’t something I could ever plan or hope for.

Of course, the people I met here play a big role. I couldn’t do any of this if I hadn’t met so many people who were so kind, welcoming, helpful and supportive and just… family. My own family is fine. My mother and my younger siblings managed to organize a little trip to the sea this month.

I’m really happy for them because after the six months they’ve had it’s good to have a week or two to just switch off and relax. Normally I would go with them. I miss her a lot but given the circumstances I think I have it as good as I can and I’m really happy where I am right now.

Regarding the recent heatwave, my new catchphrase is ‘I didn’t move to Ireland because of this weather’. I love the cold and that’s what I was promised. Give me back the cold! Irish hate it when I say it. But the heat is really unbearable.

I started going to more concerts. Last week I saw Arab Strap, a band that my friend introduced me to. I’ve been listening to them for a while but they rarely tour further than the UK and Ireland so I would never see them in Ukraine or Poland.

But mostly I spend the weekends at home with my “family” and my dogs. We watch car races and movies. Sometimes we go to parties or invite a few people over. It’s nice and quiet and cozy. I am very grateful to be part of this atmosphere. So many people are unable to lead their lives in such a calm and orderly manner after being forced to leave Ukraine.

I think the real estate crisis is the biggest challenge for Ukrainians in Ireland. Too bad, because Ireland has so much to offer otherwise.

I’m not pointing fingers, but actually I am. I find the whole Red Cross housing affair a joke. I’m a bit emotional here but I’ve met so many people who have mentioned that they registered with the Red Cross and offered their homes for Ukrainians back in March and never heard a response which is ridiculous because it means that there are plenty of people who were willing to host someone but didn’t have the opportunity, and people on the other hand who would really just appreciate a room to sleep in. [The Red Cross has said the process is “complicated” and it would like to see it move “much faster”].

I believe if that could be clarified many challenges would be easier for both Ukrainian refugees and Irish citizens to deal with. I’m not saying that it’s easy or that if all refugees have housing, everything is covered.

This number of refugees is an enormous burden for a country and I recognize it. But the Red Cross as an NGO just really complicated the situation and in my humble opinion gave false hope to a lot of people.

In conversation with Katie Byrne

https://www.independent.ie/life/diary-of-a-ukrainian-refugee-i-find-the-whole-red-cross-housing-affair-a-joke-41875371.html Diary of a Ukrainian refugee: “I think the whole Red Cross housing affair is a joke”

Fry Electronics Team

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