We were in business once, real estate, and the old properties were there when I came back. But my family was gone. My father had to flee to Russia and they call him a terrorist now. Neither he or my brother fight anymore, that was just from 2014-15. I couldn't do anything with the properties, though, or sell our cars because they could have been taken by the state at any second. Because my dad was under investigation. I had some money saved from Cyprus and I sent him all my savings because things were complicated where he was living then.
What can I say? He started by protecting money – public money. For pensioners, or teachers' and doctors' salaries. He could have taken it and run away to Russia but he didn't. He has no money now. When the Ukrainian army came he even said he could take them into our town but nothing happened because they didn't have the orders. Then, when they eventually rolled in, they took the town and the major started telling stories and my father had to run. He didn't kill anyone – I don't think so. I don't think my brother killed anyone either. I hope not. He just wanted to prove something to my dad.
So you see, when were asking each other questions
and I said I had a split opinion, now you understand. You saw how I spoke, how I spoke about both sides. I see both sides, and this was important when I become a humanitarian worker. But that's another story, ha.
We talk here about being neutral and for me it's not just a skill: it comes from dealing with family. You could say it's natural now. I don't talk about this very much. I don't talk much at all, you see. It can be strange. I don't want to be misunderstood.
Back in business I didn't talk politics because everyone had their own point of view. And before the war we had everything: business, a sustainable way of life. And when I came back it wasn't like going home. I twas like going to a new country with nothing. Maybe like you, going to Russia? But I came back to my
country with nothing. Only shame. I haven't seen my father or brother for four years. My brother for longer – I don't talk to him right now. War makes people sick. I'll see my dad in September.
There are people here at the summer school from all parts of Ukraine, and they all have their own opinions about what happens in the East. But I'm just here to listen. I don't want to argue with anyone.
We're talking about techniques to use, asking questions and listening. I want to use these techniques, but in my family first. That's where things start. We talked about speaking about what made us, and that was a difficult question to answer. What made me. I know that my father and brother, they made each other. I think that they both feel bad about it but they still won't communicate. They don't know how. Being able to say what made you is powerful, and I think that if I could mediate between them maybe they would talk again.
I didn't want to tell this story because maybe the others wouldn't understand. I've never told it to anyone before. But you're a collector, right?