Our first article about the relocation during the war came out as it is: difficult, a little chaotic, but very vital and realistic. We managed to tell the stories of our mojamers without literary embellishments, we took only what was given to us, put a little spell on the text and gave it to you. After some time, we began to receive feedback from teammates, the main one of which was: “When is the second part?”.
To be honest, there was a clear structure in advance: the first article was about those who left, and the second – about those who stayed. So if it’s not what you were expecting, we still want you to read the whole thing. Maybe it will touch your mind even more closely and evoke emotions that you have not remembered for a long time.
Enjoy the reading!
*The author’s spelling and style are preserved.
- Oleksandr, Product Manager
Good afternoon! My name is Oleksandr, I moved to Ukraine with my family in 2007. During this time, I managed to finish school, university, and learn about the wars of 2014 and 2023. As a foreigner who has lived in Ukraine all his life, my story is atypical yet not unique.
The war was an expected outcome for me: my family is familiar with the events of the ATO [anti-terrorist operation], and the possibility of a full-scale invasion was expected. We had a well-thought-out plan for moving around the city in case the roads were full of cars and a collection point outside the city. No one knew the exact date. I then took the 24th off to go to the university and collect the documents, but when I woke up in the night, I realized that the plans had changed. I quickly coordinated with my parents, woke up my girlfriend, and we quickly began to gather in case of a breakthrough to Kyiv. Early in the morning there were not many people on the street, so I managed to withdraw cash, buy perishable food and water. At the time, I was working in a Business Development position elsewhere. I dealt with Ukrainian partners and companies, so on the 24th I wrote to all partners that all deals should be temporarily suspended, security is the most important thing.
All employees of the company were given undisclosed leave for an indefinite period with salary retention, so our focus was entirely on the war, not work. On the very first day, my friends and I were able to organize an online supervisory position. It was a luxury decision in the conditions of lack of information.
We gathered as a group of good acquaintances and friends in one discord, took turns so that everyone could get some sleep. In this way, we knew in which part of the city what was happening, where the danger was, how close the enemy approached this or that part. As an example of work, on the 3rd or 4th day of the war, a rocket hit the SBU headquarters in Kyiv, this became known only a month ago, as the information was classified. During the shift, the guys were able to calculate the location of the flight and determine that it was an object belonging to the SBU, based on the direction of the smoke and sound, maps and logic. Today, this headquarters has turned into a good community of people who got to know each other through the war.
The first week of the war was very active for me. On the 4th day, my girlfriend left Kyiv on an evacuation train, and her parents sent her younger brother to the Ternopil region. On this day, a flight arrived 200 meters from my apartment, which destroyed a large number of floors (photo six months after the arrival).
Since there simply wasn’t a place in Kyiv’s TRO, thanks to friends I was able to become a part of TRO in the region where I spent some time. I won’t say that the skills were acquired at work, I didn’t need them there: the ability to negotiate, hold a confident and strong position, negotiate and simply communicate with people – this turned out to be useful. It was the first time I held a combat weapon in my hands, when the rush of adrenaline made it difficult to think. Everything, as with everyone, is dressed in anything, the main thing is that it is warm, but in the right place and able to protect himself and others. The skills I learned during the defense of Kyiv affected me as a person.
When the war broke out and the extent of what was happening became apparent, the company paid all employees an additional amount of money and kept everyone’s salaries, even though the work of the entire company was paralyzed. Our department was kept in this way for about 4 months. Unfortunately, a big wave of layoffs took place in the company in 4 months, which was a surprise for everyone. According to my estimates, the company lost about 60% of its employees and the entire Business Development department.
After finishing his work, he spent about a month developing his military orientation. Weapon handling skills, acquisition of field and civilian medicine skills, courses, trainings and practice. So it all grew into a separate hobby – high-precision shooting, which I still do.
After I began to feel confident about my life and the lives of those around me, I began to look for a new place of work, because all the savings ran out and were invested in new, relevant knowledge.
That’s how I got into MOJAM, which I’m incredibly glad about. During the time spent in landfills and basements, I had time to rethink what I want to do, and that is to create something new, which is what I am doing now.
From an emotional point of view, during the war, I became more careful, I began to listen more to what people were saying and what was happening around me. I can confidently say that I have become better at understanding people. Well, probably the most important skill is patience and the ability to do something for a long time without getting tired. For this, I want to say thanks to my first roadblock, where I had to spend 15 hours. to stand in one place and just wait, being focused and alert all the time.
A month ago, a rocket flew into the house I moved into. Unfortunately, people were injured and killed. I may not have been in a situation of increased danger for a long time, but all the skills acquired during the war turned out to be useful. Helping people to evacuate, finding the right route to get out of the rubble and being able to keep a cool head in a critical situation. Well, the equipment that I bought as a hobby turned out to be useful in a real situation.
I would like to express my gratitude to the MOJAM company, which joined the collection to help the residents affected by this arrival. At the moment, 300 residents have lost their homes and do not know when they will be able to return to them.
War is a strong test for every person, both from a moral and psychological point of view. This is an opportunity to change yourself as a person without even noticing it. Being in constant stress and fear of air alarms, many people do not cope, break down, change.
I really want this to be over as soon as possible and I’m trying to help units that I know or that need help. For everyone who is going through difficult situations in life or who needs psychological help, I can recommend the organization where my mother works. You have to stay strong no matter what happens!
- Maxim, Recruiter
Hello everyone, my name is Maxim. Originally from the Donetsk region, from a small village. In 2010, I went to Donetsk to study at the State University of Informatics and Artificial Intelligence. In 2014, I moved to Kharkiv and almost 10 years later I had to leave again.
A day before a full-scale invasion, I rejected the idea of starting a war, again. I spent several days in a bomb shelter, felt an aerial bomb was falling nearby, and realized that I had to leave Kharkiv. After moving to Dnipro, a few weeks later I was laid off and went to the market to find a new place.
At the same time as I entered the market, I wrote to Roma and said that now I have experience in my resume and maybe now the job search will be easier) Roma said that they have an open position, but the requirements there are greater than what I have at the moment, but I can try. The interview was quite long, but interesting. I liked that they were pushing me on various issues and considering not only the actual experience I had, but also looked at the potential of where I was going. I really liked the approach to the hiring process, the work schedule and the control system. It is important for me to remain as independent and autonomous as possible, in order to push away from my skills in the first place, but at the same time to have reliable colleagues to whom I can always come.
I worked with MOJAM for just under a year, we parted ways due to specific reasons, but it was the best period in terms of cooperation. A very cool and professional team, strong support from the company (there was a period when the lights were turned off and in general it started working just in the first months of the war, various activities that help to develop and rest). At the moment, I am working with MOJAM as a freelancer, but there is a feeling that I am part of the team)
- Danylo, Content Manager
Probably, as for all Ukrainians, the beginning of the war was a knocking out of the ground from under their feet. If you try to describe it briefly: for the first six months there was no strength, desire and motivation to do anything. Any job, task, or small pursuit seemed completely pointless in the context of the time and episode we were in. But, no matter how absurd and strange it was, a new feeling came to replace complete hopelessness, desolation – a desire to continue moving forward regardless of the circumstances.
No matter how hard it is now, no matter how much you want to give up, sit quietly and complain about life and its injustice, a simple realization has come: fate does not send us difficulties that we cannot cope with. Too many efforts and human lives were spent so that we could continue to exist, to live, to help ourselves and others. A simple thought: “If we survive all this, there will be nothing to worry about in the future. There will be something to tell our grandchildren about.”
It was the awareness of these rather mundane, but obvious things that helped to quickly adapt to new realities. Personally, for me – to completely change the vector of work that I have been following for the past few years, to start a new “branch” of work, and just to start looking at the usual things differently.
- Vika, Brand Manager
I’m from Kharkiv, and everything can be understood at this point 😄 I was “very lucky”: a week before the war, I resigned from my previous job. Then I celebrated my 35th birthday (I have it on February 20) and wanted to rest for a couple of weeks before diving into the search for a new job, because the previous one exhausted me to the bone. Let’s say, I rested a little more than a couple of weeks)))
Like all Ukrainians, I met the beginning of the war around four in the morning. And I hoped that it was just someone a little stupid who set off fireworks in the morning. Unfortunately, everything was clear even then, but my husband went out to check what the loud noises were. Someone on the street said that a plane had flown and dropped bombs somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Well, then you know everything: constant shelling of Kharkiv, hiding in the basement of the house, camouflage, waiting for the worst, endless worries and the unknown. At the beginning of the war, it seemed that it would last for a couple of days, then everyone would come to an agreement and everything would be calm again. Naivety of the highest level is simple, but I simply did not want to think differently, because everything that was happening seemed too unreal. We stayed in the basement for about a week, and when the shelling began to intensify, we decided to leave, because the shelling was getting closer and closer.
And so, one day, without prior planning, we decided to go. We had already packed our things, so we waited until there was a break between the shelling (we counted the shelling and understood that we had a couple of hours), grabbed the cat Bulka and went first to Oleksiivka to pick up my mother, and then to Kholodna Gora to pick up my husband’s mother (these are two different parts of the city for those who do not know Kharkiv). We left on March 1, the same day when the Kharkiv Regional State Administration arrived. This explosion is now forever in my memory. And already when we were outside the city, we found out that 10-15 minutes after our departure, a rocket flew to the same place where we were returning. We drove to Poltava in silence.
In order not to talk about “adventures” for a long time, I will simply say that we traveled from Kharkiv to Kamianets-Podilskyi for about 5 days. We are very grateful to those people who sheltered our family in Vinnytsia and in Kamianets itself. Of course, all the housing was busy and we found nothing, but our godfathers had a place for one person in the house, and our friends in Krakow had a house that they were ready to rent to us. So we dropped my husband off in the suburbs of Lutsk, and I took our mothers and the cat to Krakow. There were just too many people at the border! We stood in line for 12-14 hours, and in general it took more than a day to get to Krakow. Upon arrival, I sat for a long time and looked at the wall.
In general, we spent about three months in Krakow. I walked a lot, looked for work and worked on a cool project called HelpTheHelper, which talked about our volunteers and aimed to raise money for them. On this platform, you could donate to any volunteer whose story you liked. Unfortunately, we closed the project because everyone ran out of money and had to work. I could not find a job, everywhere I received such a notification: “You are overqualified, and now we do not need such specialists”, so we survived on my savings and the help of my husband. Somewhere at the end of May, the pain inside started to get bigger and I realized that I cannot live outside of Ukraine and I want to return to live it all together with the country and see my husband again. In such a difficult period, it is very important to be together.
And so, after talking, my husband and I decided that we would go to Odessa. We lived there until 2022 and know the city well. Well, we also understood that the orcs [russian military] would not get there, although there were constant conversations about it, and the Odessans saw their landing ships on the horizon. But we Kharkiv residents became so angry that we were ready to wipe everyone out, so we decided to leave at the beginning of June)))
Mykola went from Lutsk to Odesa and rented out the house, and we went home in a car with our friend and cat Bulka.
Since then and until now, we have lived in Odessa. All summer of 22, I was still looking for a job, and while I was looking, I collected money to buy a car for a friend from the Armed Forces, made nut bars and other goodies for soldiers, collected things for displaced people and many more.
In the fall, I found a job at MOJAM, right before the shelling of the heat power station plant and blackouts (did I already say that I’m “lucky” 😁?)). The company gave us a budget for batteries and, thank God, we had fiber in our house. So I worked almost non-stop and Mykola and I had enough of our small charging station. Although the situation in Odessa was very difficult, there was no light for quite a long time.
And as for shelling: well, of course it has an effect, but let’s hold on. When there are those with whom you want to create something, and when you know that your income can be directed to help the country, then all the shelling is not so important. Although, of course, my moral condition leaves much to be desired, because seeing from the window how shaheds and rockets are shot down is not very pleasant)) And I will tell you that visits to Kharkiv are very helpful. A wounded, but unbreakable and very beautiful city. I strongly advise everyone who has not been there to visit. I have not seen such spirit, such faith and strength anywhere. Immediately after the shelling, everything is cleaned up in a matter of hours, and light is given so quickly that sometimes it is not even noticeable that something was wrong at all (compared to Odessa, it is just the speed of light).
But we are alive and well. And it’s all thanks to the Defense Forces of Ukraine. I am infinitely grateful to them for their service, appreciate their feat and bow down to the ground. I wish to all of us that it all ends as soon as possible, and we get free all the lands.
*Afterword by MOJAM
The articles turned out to be different: the first showed how difficult it is to run, looking back at the house, the second – that it is not so easy to stay, but every day spent at home only tightens the thoughts in the head: “We only need victory”, “We fight for it”. “We will not back down.” Our guys who are in Ukraine almost every day face such an unfortunately common factor, air anxiety, and it’s undoubtedly horrifying: you watch a video, and during the signal, people calmly go for a cup of coffee, melancholic, thoughtless. And let the war seem like an echo or an echo to someone who is far away, but you must remember that there is always a teammate who is working to the sound of sirens at this very second.
Don’t stop donating. Do not stop believing in the Armed Forces.