“Now I feel safe with my Italian family.”

His Italian family did not leave him alone at this time, and for Victoria, coming to Chiti was “the end of a nightmare.” He uses Google Translate from Ukrainian to Italian on his phone to make sure he is not making a mistake, but to look him in the face at the gratitude and serenity he feels at his Italian home today after dark days. Stress, fear for twelve-year-old boy Maxim, Cellar’s race at the sound of sirens is a heavy memory, now covered by the warmth and care of their large family in Mother Grazia, Father Antonino and Torrevecchia. Titina. Children, brothers, daughters-in-law, nieces, nephews, uncles, cousins ​​who nowadays do not leave Victoria and Maxim alone in the midst of laughter, chatter, advice and Italian ‘lessons’.

Everyone hugs Victoria Stelmach and her son Maxim after a very long and tiring journey. “We left Chernihiv on Saturday 12 March – remembering the young mother – a town about 130 kilometers from Kyiv where the bombs had arrived early and we arrived six days later.” The first message to the Italian mother and father came on 14 February. Today, however, no one could have imagined that the situation would soon heat up.

The Victoria and Teton families have loved each other since 1992 when she, at the age of 10, moved to Chiti from Eastern Europe with many other colleagues. They were children of Chernobyl and partnered in Italy to be able to stay away from nuclear radiation for some time.

That bridge has been reactivated in various parts of Italy, where families are now returning to welcome the victims of the nuclear disaster of the 1990s and their children.

And when the Russian aggression is about to come, Victoria and Grazia Zenobile also listen to each other whenever possible and from Chieti, with great difficulty, they finally manage to take the mother and baby safely and safely to Italy.

“It’s not easy for a single mother with a child – Mrs. Grazia explains – Victoria traveled to Italy through the Italian-Ukrainian Christian Cultural Association, connected by my niece Ariana, who told me to contact her every day about the possibility of a mother and child leaving. We put a lot of emphasis. ”

Victoria recalls the last few weeks in Ukraine: “Then what happened was not possible, they said on TV they had a suitcase with clothes ready. When the siren sounded, we hid in the cellar: a common area where we kept food for the winter. But when we no longer had water and light, I decided that we would only come and live in Italy. We had very little gas for cooking but in those days we ate and drank very little because we could not use the bathroom. “

Victoria and Maxim in hiding

Several days after the request, the mother and son contact the Roman Association and manage to leave Chernihiv, the city where Victoria and Maxim live and which is located a short distance from the Russian-Belarusian border.

“It would have been impossible to leave without the help of my Italian family and without the mediation of this association,” he said.

The journey began on Saturday 12 March in a van, with 16 people bound for Borispil “where we hosted a church and fell asleep – Victoria describes – then we got in the car and by train we reached Lviv. We lay on the ground and spent the night on the basketball court.” I was always in contact with a volunteer from the Italian-Ukrainian Association who supported me and told me what to do. Arrived on Thursday the 17th পুলিশ the police stopped us ten times for a check during the journey “.

Then finally arriving in Rome where they waited in between their kisses, hugs, cries and “the end of a nightmare”.

That thread of love and hope has been revived and now it’s time to make room for the best memories at Teton House. At that first meeting, in 1992, when Don Enrico de Casalincontrada presented to the families of children from Eastern Europe who would welcome them for a few months and never forget them.

“The bus reached Chieti Scalo near the church of the Twelve Apostles – recalls Grazia – when I saw the little ones getting off I hit a little girl with a huge bow on her head with long and blonde hair. She looked like a little princess. A few minutes later I discovered that the beautiful girl would be the younger sister of our children Anna and David. We were thrilled. We hugged and cried. ”

Victoria 10 in Holiday-2

Vik at the age of 10 at Chieti home

Victoria, who spent the first years of her life in an orphanage, spent a peaceful month in Chieti, in the historic center house where her new family lived at the time and where she would return in the first period each year and later, as soon as possible and Grazia and her family to see her in Ukraine. Go. In that little room with lots of love and welcome balloons, through Salita Santa Chiara, everyone already knew that that bond would last forever, to share the joys and sorrows of life, multiplied many times over.

Because today there is also Maxim. Seeing the sea for the first time in Frankvilla last Sunday, can’t believe his eyes. She remained silent for a long time to observe him. Maxim began entering school this week, in the sixth grade, at Torevechia Titina. For the next few months they will live in Italy where Grazia and her extended family will continue to relieve the pain with all their love and attention.

Mother and son by the sea in Francavilla-2

Mother and son by the sea in Francavilla

Victoria today is trying to relax and recover from fear at the Teeton family home, she likes to be useful and every moment prepares some Ukrainian food such as borscht, ordinary purple soup made from beets. “It simply came to our notice then. I’m fine here, “he repeated with a smile.

Sewing her intoxication, the last time she was on vacation, five years ago, she brought several of the clothes she had made into her suitcase. Preparations for the trip this time were completely different and there were no special clothes in her suitcase but Victoria would be able to act as a seamstress at this time of rebirth in Italy.

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