"We didn't even take clothes with us, we just left with what we had on.”
Two young girls who imagined the last year of high school in a completely different way. Now you can get to know their story, what it was like for them when they suddenly turned from carefree adolescence into refugee adults.
Annus and Anetta are the 18-year-old twins, who are already well known here at the Refugee Center by both the volunteers and the workers. The young girls always try to be nice and friendly despite the trials they have been through.
Where did you live in Ukraine? What were your plans for the future?
We lived in Kisbegány before we had to come. Everyone there spoke Hungarian, and we went to a Hungarian school. We studied in high school at home. We wanted to continue even further, but we couldn't because the war broke out.
Anetta: I'm interested in hairdressing, I wanted to learn it, but it remains just a dream...
Annus: I would have preferred to work, but my mother insisted that I continue school.
How did you come to Hungary?
Anetta: It was difficult for us to cross the border. When we started first, they didn't let us through. We were turned back at 1 am. At dawn the next day, Annus says, let's go! Mom, she didn't want to go anymore, she said she wasn't going anymore, she gave up hope that we would cross the border. Annus convinced him and we started preparing. We went down, got dressed, we didn't even take any clothes with us, we just left with what we had on. Mom cried so much that they let us through this time. But our grandmother not. Men are also stopped at the border, so many swim across the Tisza river to escape. But our father and my brother worked in Hungary, so they didn't stop him.
Anetta: "The children cried every night, the little ones said they didn't want to die. Let's get out of here. We didn't want to, but we had to."
And because of mom, because she heard the siren every night. Many times even when the siren was not sounding. She was very afraid. My mom got sick of having to leave our home.
When and how did you arrive at the Dorcas Refugee Center?
We arrived at Dorcas in April, we know from there, because we already had our birthday here in May. When the war situation started to get serious, we set off. We will be in Hungary from around the end of January. First, we were temporarily accommodated in a dormitory in Beregsurány, then we didn't know where we were going. Once they came to us and asked who wanted to go where. They wanted us to go to Pest to see dad, they were looking at a house, but mom didn't agree. There was a woman there who helped us, her name was Aunt Cini. She came to us and told us to go to his place in Biharkeresztes, where we can live for a while. We were in a dormitory there as well, then they called the Dorcas Ministries and we came here by bus. We had to wait a while longer for the small houses to be opened.
How many of you live together now?
There are 7 of us siblings, so now there are 9 of us living in the winterized wooden house. When we got here, we lived in the other summer wooden houses. We liked being in the other place because there was a filagoria around the houses and people of our age gathered there. We were among young people, this part is mostly inhabited by children and parents.You have helped the colleagues and volunteers working here many times.
How did this trust develop?
Right from day one. Aunt Viki and Uncle Abel came to us and told us that if we wanted to, we could help them with the easier tasks until we went to work. And we said yes.
Annus: "We would have helped anyway, because that's who we are"
We help in whatever way we can. When we saw that we could be of some use to the workers, we went and helped them. We are mainly used to packing, for example putting books in boxes. It's not a big job, and we're happy if we can keep ourselves busy for a while.
We also want to steer the children in the right direction. We held a cleaning day here for the little ones. After Aunt Laura toured the campsite and gave cleanliness advice to the residents, we also tried to maintain this process. We looked at their nails, cut them, and then painted them for the children. We also combed their hair and braided it. Brushing our teeth together was Aunt Zsuzsi's idea. But we also saw that many children have bad dentures.
How do you like living here?
We really like being here, it's much better than in the dormitories. We don't even want to leave. Our mother lets us go to the city now, in the begininng she didn't let us go just the two of us.
Anetta: When we came here, I was very scared on the bus. I cried. That's when we met Aunt Viki for the first time. She told us to calm down, you are safe here, we are religious. This meant a lot to us, because we came from an environment where we often went to church and we are also believers.Then, when it was our birthday in May, Aunt Viki came and told us: "As far as I know, there are two birthday girls here." And she gave us a bar of chocolate each. This gesture felt really well, then we started to get to know each other better and since then we have been talking a lot and started to trust her.
When the war ends, do you want to go home?
Anetta: I would like to go back at some point, but not really. We're so used to it here, I've come to like the people. I really miss my home and the people there, but I don't really want to go back.
Annus: I miss my home quite a bit. It would be hard for me to leave, I really liked being here, the people here, but I miss my grandparents a lot and I would go back because of them.